A staggering 186 million in voice call minutes and $26 million is leaking through the hands of local mobile network operators going to Over The Top Services providers such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype and Others, a cabinet minister has said.
Over the Top services have become a threat to the survival of local mobile network operators as they chew into their revenues by riding on their infrastructure.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Giving oral evidence to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on ICT, Postal and Courier Services on the data saga, the Minister of that portfolio Supa Mandiwanzira said mobile network operators in Zimbabwe decried how the Over the Top Services were eating into their revenue. Watch here
He said MNOs, Potraz and Treasury as well were losing a cumulative $30, 1 million to techies in America.
‘Its important to give you some statistics Honourable Chair. there was evidence that the entire sector was bleeding as a result of the over the top services.
“The potential monetary loss to mobile networks as a result of those over the top services…was $26million and the loss to potraz because they get a portion of the revenue was 139 000 and the loss to treasury through taxes was $4million,” he said.
“So you can see that the biggest loser were the networks themselves. The second biggest loser were the people of Zimbabwe through revenue because 4 million was being lost through the OTTS and the least loser was potraz because Potraz was not acting in some kind of self preservation mode it was really to serve the industry,” said Minister Mandiwanzira.
He added that OTTS have not only become a menace to local mobile operators only but the world over is crying foul. He said that some countries have come up with regulations to protect their MNOs while others have banned OTTS.