High operating costs fuel telecoms charges: POTRAZ

Zimbabwe’s telecommunications industry tariffs are expected to stabilise in the first quarter of next year following a spate of high operating costs which drove the charges to levels beyond the reach of many this year.

The slowdown in tariff -hike projections on services such as data, voice and SMS among others is being linked to the stability within the interbank foreign exchange market.

Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), Director General, Dr Gift Machengete says stability will also depend on the economic conditions.

He noted that the sector has not been spared from the high operating costs which saw most of the operators streamlining operations.

“It has not been all that easy but we just anticipate all to be well next year that will depend on the economic conditions,” he said.

The regulator is also expected to hold its annual general meeting on Wednesday with key issues such as the impact of the infrastructure sharing among operators being under scrutiny.

Meanwhile, several institutions for people with disabilities received computers as well as software from the universal services fund administered by POTRAZ.

Mobile networks have been introducing price shifts on voice, data and social media on a regular basis this year.

In February this year, the Reserve Bank devalued the local RTGS dollar against the United States dollar. Since that announcement, Internet service providers and mobile network operators have increased data costs in the name of realigning their prices to the “correct” United States dollar value.

On 30 April 2019, Econet Wireless became the latest mobile network operator to hike the cost of mobile data. – ZBC