Zimbabwe: Overcharging Refuted

Telecoms

Econet Wireless and Telecel, two of the country's three mobile phone service providers, last week refuted claims they are overcharging customers. Representatives of the companies appeared separately before the Portfolio Committee on Media, Communication and Information Technology to give evidence on the state of their operations. They said their tariffs compared favourably with those prevailing in the region.

The companies' representatives also said they were incurring huge costs in acquiring back-up power as a result of the load shedding by Zesa. Econet CEO Douglas Mboweni said running generators was costing them US$15 million annually. On the tariffs, Mr Mboweni said it was a myth that they were overcharging.

"It is far away from the truth and if you go to South Africa the voice calls are no less than 30 cents unless they are running a promotion of some sort," he said. Mboweni said other service providers in the region also charged rates ranging between 30 cents and 32 cents. He said the power outages were also bringing an added cost.