#DataMustFall war is looming in Zimbabwe

By Staff reporter | 25 Apr 2019 at 13:55hrs
State owned Mobile Network Operator, NetOne has cut data offer by 168%, and intel around the matter has hinted us that all other Mobile networks are going the same route in the next 48hrs, a move which does not even need Potraz to give a green light, since this is a mere promotion termination.

Liquid Telecom as well has today during their breakfast ZITF meeting announced similar data adjustment, while the price remained the same.

The move has literally diminished all their in-house promotion to a meagre figure floating above the floor price of 5 cents per MB, which will lead to a national outcry, as the new tariffs have exposed many Zimbabweans who for the past three years had become accustomed to the new promotional offerings.

NetOne data bundle which used to cost 250MB per $1 is now only offering 42MB, The daily data bundle for $3 which offered 2000mb or 2gGB is now offering a meagre 150, which is the biggest data price increase in decades, behold a #DataMustFall war is looming. The Whatsapp weekly data bundle $1 will now only offer 36MB while the $2 will offer 77MB, $3 offering 125MB, $2 has 227MB and $10 will offer a paltry 500MB.

The worst is however yet to come, these are just effects of a failing economy responding to the monetary policy statement announced by the Reserve Bank, after telecommunication operators lost a third of their saving to the new trading rates, but still they could not get the foreign currency equivalent as RBZ is still dry on float.

The most worrying signal, however, is that a state Owned mobile network, had to announce this move first. Econet and Telecel have always tried to play competitively to offer better rates than NetOne and the worst is yet to happen.

Intel reaching TechnoMag revealed that the other operators have even slashed their data bundles way lesser than NetOne and its only a matter of hours before they announce their new tariffs.

Obviously, this move was done with full knowledge of other operators, my gut feeling tells me that there were probably very good consultations on who must announce the changes first, and the rest will offer the highest rates.

It would be very suicidal for NetOne to offer such a package which is 168% less, when they know their competition very well, that they won't charge such a figure. It would also be naive to think of migrating in the next 48 hours because this is as sure as they come, the worst rates will be announced soon.

If data is now costing that much in Zimbabwe, it means just like bread, it is now a privilege for a few rich, and millions will not be coming online in the next few days, unfortunately, there is no alternative to mobile data, unless one relies on fixed data. This move may actually kill the possibilities of major online outcry as millions will not even afford the data for the online outburst.

Zimbabwe's mobile data penetration was hovering above 65%, this figure will surely greatly fall and affect even the national GDP, with little revenue being generated, the government itself will not collect much tax, meaning this is tantamount to shooting self in the foot.

While the human right access to the internet has already been threatened, it means at the national level we are going to see drastic reduction of content with millions dropping offline, this means the online business has been threatened and more importantly, the consumers themselves have been defeated, meaning we have gone many years back in time.

The online hype will die a natural death and consumers and creators of online content have suffered a major blow, should salaries be adjusted, inflation will shoot and still we will see another data increase, the rate race won't end.

The biggest problem is we are now all facing the effects of the problem and everyone is putting efforts on the effects not the root cause of the problem, hopefully, one day we will decide to fix the problem, not the effects.



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