Naturally, most Zimbabweans are educated fools who take things at face value, I have been closely looking at the recent data bundles wars, much to my amazement, I saw how being uninformed and misinformation can do to the nation.
There was so much noise and emotions were raised, which led to many people missing lots of facts about what was going on in the market, while both the government and Econet went miles to prove their innocence to score public points.
Thus said, we need to look into the facts from a fresh perspective and really understand what really happened first before the other.Forget the public sympathy and grandstanding and understand this right.
Ofcourse Econet cried foul about NetOne running its one fusion promotion which technically was a data and voice promotion which was set to expire but they reportedly asked for extension.
Fact 1 Operators wanted more profit margins
All the Telecommunications companies under the Telecommunications Association of Zimbabwe (TOAZ), approached government with a plea to get a floor pricing system, mainly because the rates were not competitive.
Fact 2 It was Not a Potraz Idea.
THIS WAS NOT A POTRAZ IDEA AS PUBLICLY STATED, but this does not mean Potraz did not like or authorize the idea. Remember they had initially proposed this and cancelled all promos before.
FACT 3 : These Players were serious about 50mb.
Potraz was okay with a national lowest of 50mb. This was not just a Potraz issue, they agreed that data can be cheap and should be accessible to all but at a pathetic 50mb.
Noone should play heroism here, the sector had agreed to 50mb, this is outrageous and pathetic. Econet did not drive this agenda alone they all did this and were ready to run the new rates.
Fact 4: Excuse me, Econet Was NOT the Most Expensive
Telecel had officially terminated their data bundles. They did not have any data bundles to offer which means they were running on $1 based tariff, which offered less than 10mb.
NetOne had already switched on 17mb per dollar bundle, it was running and available during and after the furore but no one mentioned it.
Econet offered a paltry 10mb plus extra 10mb of their hotspot meaning in total it was 20mb, Technically there were the cheapest but the nation was up in arms against them. Food for thought.
Fact 5 Econet Chose 10mb not 50mb
The government’s agreement was that they could choose to bill anything not more than 50mb, I don’t know why Econet chose to go public with 10mb when could start with the ceiling 50mb they chose the floor tariff.
Fact 6: Econet was too loud
Econet followed up on an agreement, they did not have a role in announcing and making noise about it. Its like they implemented the tariff first yet its not true, there were actually the last to do so, but were just noisy.
Fact 7: Econet’s was sacrificed
People chose to be misinformed, no one told them Econet was too expensive, they decided so and made noise about it. The only crime they committed was that they made noise about the rates and implementation. Everyone else was silent about it. Simply because they have the largest subscriber base, they were easily targeted. Their major mistake was issuing that letter that portrayed Potraz as the orchestrator. Had they not done that, the government may have handled it differently
Fact 8: Government Played Hero
The ministry of ICT saw an opportunity of grandstanding, they were the heroes by announcing a reversal of what they had authorized, Potraz saw an opportunity to come out clean and blasted Econet for playing victim.
Fact 9: The Question no one can answer
What caused the tariff floors is the fact that operators are not being profitable and are charging way below all in the name of competition. For how long are they going to hold on to this artificial heroism, the RBZ is already settling bills if at all they are not making profits.
Government said tariff hike is inevitable so how soon will they effect another hike.
Fact 10 My Head is spinning,
How did Econet separate the new Director General from Potraz issues, We are digging this one around, we certainly missed something there.
In summary this is exactly what happened and the most important thing here is not what came out of this but the order of events. If you understand what happened first before the reaction then you may have more understanding of the Zimbabwean telecoms sector and where we are going, if we are going any where .