Hard-pressed Zimbabwe data consumers have aired their dissatisfaction over the current sharp spikes in data prices despite the ongoing coronavirus aka COVID-19 economic effects.
The data tarrifs had already been approved by Potraz the telecommunications regulator, while the Mobile Networks took their time to implement due to competitive reasons
NetOne has since updated that it will be adjusting their prices by tomorrow while Telecel Zimbabwe has hinted that it wont be making such changes any time soon.
The latest increase has seen the company’s private data shooting from $400 to $1300 for 25G monthly package.
This is a more than 200% increase from the previous price.
In addition, its daily data bundle previously pegged at $60 for 1200mb now costs $130.
Zimbabwe Online Content Creators (ZOCC) members have registered serious concerns over the tariff adjustments as this greatly hampers their operation.
In a group chat the spokesman of the organization Mr Sean Moyo registered his shock, “The Same Econet that a week or so ago instructed its supplies to cut their invoices by 20% finds it well to sharply increase their prices”
Daniel Chigundu added ” The 25 gig was $400 and now $1300 how does one explain the jump even exchange rates don’t jump that far”
One Kuda Pembere added “And we have a Regulator facilitating this, for lack of a better phrase, genocidal price hikes, instead of coordinating and leveling the playing field for both customers and industry players.”
Misa Zimbabwe actually started a petition against the move Hopewell Chin’ono in a separate post said:
However Hopewell Chin’ono stated
What Econet Zimbabwe has done with data prices is not surprising!
The exchange rate today is at Z$55 to the US Dollar.
$1300 is US$23. As usual, Zimbabweans are attacking the wrong person. Mnangagwa is the one who has refused to implement Political Reforms, that is why we are in this economic mess. Mthuli Ncube said so in his letter to the International Monetary Fund. It is not Strive Masiyiwa’s problem that we are afraid to confront the root cause of our problems. He is running a business not a charity shop, if we fail to understand that, then our education is again useless. Econet borrowed money in US Dollars from abroad to fix its network by buying equipment that money must be paid back in US Dollars! The problem is not the prices, they are reasonable in US Dollar terms. The problem is that you are being underpaid because the economy is dead! That is not Strive’s problem, that is Mnangagwa’s and ZANUPF.
Deal with Mnangagwa and ZANUPF, and not use a side show as an excuse! #ZANUPFMustGo”
The facts at hand however point to the fact that most Zimbabweans can no longer afford most basic commodities, not just data, but even essential services like fuel, electricity and water supply.
The elephant in the room has been affordability, not pricing of the commodity, Zimbabweans however continuously look at how services and commodities
In his recent appearing before the parliamentary portfolio committee, Potraz director general Dr Gift Machengete said the approved tariffs are not as crazy as many people allege, the fact of the matter is that consumers can no longer afford due to low remunerations.
The recent tariff increase have pegged Zimbabwe data from cents per mb to 23 cents, meaning these are the official approved rates and Econet is still charging within the lawful confines
The Mobile Network Operators are grappling with operational costs in an environment where they import data, have maintenance costs in foreign currency yet their source of revenue is largely RTGS except on international calls.
This Problems is among just but a few, with inflation which is continuously shooting through the roof, crippling most operations, forcing many to wonder how we still even can afford to get decent connectivity in such torrid times.