'Zimbabwe data tariffs comparable to Sadc regional countries'
By Staff reporter | 24 Apr 2019 at 15:58hrs
Zimbabwe's telecoms regulator has said prices of mobile data here are comparable to those obtaining in other Sadc countries, rubbishing a trending social media article portraying Zimbabwe as the most expensive country in terms of mobile data service, with a reported average price of $75,20 for 1GB.
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) - which slashed tariffs in July last year and March this year - said Zimbabwe's out of bundle data now stands at US$0.016 per MB or US$15,63 for 1GB of mobile data , which is actually cheaper than some Sadc countries.
Potraz director-general Gift Machengete said the information peddled was historical, and described the report as "a gross misrepresentation of the Zimbabwe situation" even during the period it was published, and "as such, it should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves."
As a background to data tariffs review, Zimbabwean Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) first reviewed the out of bundle mobile data tariffs from US$0,125 per MB to US$ 0,05 per MB without taxes on July 1, 2018.
This tariff translated to about US$50 for 1GB of data. The out of bundle tariff is the normal cost-based tariff that subscribers are charged when they are not accessing any data bundles. Machengete said it ought to be underlined that data bundle rates cannot go beyond the out of bundle tariffs.
"Furthermore, the authority reviewed tariffs in March 2019 which saw the out of bundle rate being reviewed to RTGS$ 0.05 per MB without taxes. This translates to about RTGS$50 per MB. Given the movement in the exchange rate between the US$ and the RTGS$, which now stands at 1US$: RTGS$ 3.2, the US$ tariff for the out of bundle data now stands at US$0.016 per MB or US$15.63 for 1GB of mobile data," Machengete explained.
"The authority would therefore like to put it on record that the mobile data tariffs in Zimbabwe are comparable to those obtaining in other Sadc countries."
Machengete said the current price of 1GB of mobile data for Zimbabwe is among the lowest in the region, in US$ terms. The Potraz boss said the report understated the out of bundle data prices per GB for some countries in Sadc and overstated the out of bundle data price per GB for Zimbabwe by US$55.
"Potraz urges stakeholders to contact the director general of the authority when undertaking studies on the ICT sector and equally so, for consumers to verify information with the authority should the need arise," Machengete said.