Consumers challenge Potraz

By Staff reporter | 20 May 2019 at 16:30hrs
ZIMBABWE'S hard-pressed consumers have challenged the country's telecommunications regulator to intensify its awareness campaigns and shed more light on developments in the sector.

This comes as consumers got a chance to meet the regulator and be educated on various postal and telecommunications issues as the regulator was in Mashonaland Central last week carrying out education and awareness campaigns .

Some consumers were visibly excited and appreciative for learning issues they were not aware of.

Tarisai Mupanedengu, 27, from Nzvimbo Growth Point, said it was crucial for the regulator to continue educating consumers on their rights as well as on new developments in the telecommunications industry.

"We did not get any explanation from mobile operators when they increased prices of their promotions and we thought government had given them the green-light to hike tariffs. But now we have an appreciation of why they had to adjust their bundles. But we had gotten used to these bundles and we cannot afford the new bundles we hope the operators will come with new promotions "she said.

"Postal Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz)  should be commended for holding these awareness campaigns as they are critical in educating us the consumers. I hope they will continue to educate consumers across the country as most of the time we are being exploited but do not know what to do. It was important to know that we can use the toll free number and report network operators to Potraz where we feel our queries were not handled well," said Casper Majuru from Mutorashanga.

This comes as there has been outrage and confusion over recent adjustments in data tariffs by mobile network operators —Econet Wiress, NetOne and Telecel.

However, Potraz consumer affairs manager Phibion Chaibva, said it was important to note that operators did not increase data prices but only adjusted promotion packages.
"Mobile telecommunication companies wanted to review data tariffs in line with the rising costs of production, but as a regulator we did not approve such a hike and what they did was to adjust and vary their bundles services and promotions which they were offering at the peak of competition "he told thousands of consumers during roadshows in Mashonaland Central.

"As a result, telecommunications operators slightly adjusted promotional packages, which had kept data bundles low, as part of strategies to attain business viability," he said.

Chaibva indicated that despite the recent increases which came into effective in April all three networks are offering bundled data of between RTGS$0,02 and RTGS$0,04 per MB, well below the approved ceiling of RTGS$0,06 per MB.

"A comparison, in US Dollar terms, of data tariffs with those of fellow Sadc countries shows that, contrary to general perception, our tariffs in Zimbabwe are in fact, quite comparable to those in the region.



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