Zimbabwe: Potraz reviews local data charges
23 June 2017
The Postal and Telecommunications Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) is evaluating local data charges and major cost drivers amid indications the cost of data in Zimbabwe is too high, reports the Herald. Potraz director general Gift Machengete said the ongoing assessment was part of regular exercises by the regulator to ascertain the state of the industry. A study performed by Research ICT Africa in 2016 and submitted to the Parliament of South Africa established that Zimbabwe had the third most expensive mobile data in Africa with the cheapest monthly 1GB data package in the country set at USD 30.
Reports indicated that the two most expensive monthly bundles in Africa were South Sudan at USD 90.83 and Swaziland at USD 30.33. The cheapest 1GB of data is available in Tanzania at USD 0.89, Egypt at USD 2.82 and Mozambique at USD 2.87. The price for Zimbabwe was for standard packages and excluded bundled service telecoms operators offered to entice their consumers. Machengete said since information communication technologies were critical for socio-economic development, it was ideal that data be affordable to make it accessible.
Machengete said it was critical that POTRAZ made sure that the cost of data in Zimbabwe was affordable, as this was important in bringing down cost of goods and services. In ordering reversal of the steep data and voice call tariffs in January, Information Communication Technology Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said "unreasonable data prices, especially in a high literacy country like ours, undermine huge investments in human capital, broadband infrastructure and the ability to attract investment."
The review of data prices POTRAZ comes after it set floor prices in January of this year for data and voice calls at 2 cents per megabyte and 12 cents per minute, respectively. The government, shortly after, directed that the rates be suspended following a public outcry.