THE Postal and Regulatory authority of Zimbabwe POTRAZ has approved a tariff data increase of 48% and another one as well. On the voice of 56% in a move received with heavily mixed feelings.
This technically means that mobile and data operators are now legally permitted to increase their tariffs to that much unless they choose to run on promotional bundles that are less than the ceiling cost.
The move was meant to cushion operators against runaway inflation and costs effect of running the business.
Operators have not welcomed this move as it is paltry and out of touch with reality against heavy operational costs and high inflation, compromising the quality of service and maintenance.
The same move, however, has been received with much pain and anguish by customers who are already struggling to make ends meet amidst poor remuneration, Sharp increase of basic commodities against the cost of the living basket which is flying way lower than national inflation rates.
This has not been an easy decision for Potraz who has the mandate to make sure that every Zimbabwe has access to information and communication at a reasonable cost, while at the same time they have to provide a profitable environment for all telecommunications players while safeguarding their interests.
POTRAZ is now using the cost-based billing system that demands they input the actual costs or changes in cost factor before applying the new price to data and voice tariffs.
With that in mind, Internet and telecommunications providers in Zimbabwe are continuously engaging the regulator on tariff adjustments for sustainability amidst serious operational costs.
Zimbabwe Internet Access providers pay huge sums of foreign currency to import data and bring connectivity to Zimbabwe, a cost factor that determines our local price to access.
Many Zimbabwean subscribers have cried foul to the latest adjustments with many assertions that we are now a country with the most expensive data on the world, while in contrary our RTGS value has dropped making the data rates the lowest worldwide, as a matter of fact.
The real. The issue is not on the pricing of data in Zimbabwe, but mainly the disparity between official rates and black market trade rates thus has caused a major distortion coming from. An era where operators heavily borrowed after 1:1 promise and most of them are now struggling or will not be able to pay back their debts.
The second major problem lies within affordability versus earnings, Zimbabwe find it too expensive to buy data, because they earn less not because of its priced too high