Mobile Network Operators Comply With Potraz Directive
Zimbabwe’s leading mobile network operators (MNOs) yesterday complied with a Postal and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) directive to slash mobile Internet data tariffs by 60%.
Potraz announced last month that it has revised data tariffs through a new Long Rung Incremental Costing model which outlines a new structure on pricing of telecommunication services which includes mobile Internet data charges USSD charges and interconnection fees.
The regulator made the announcement on the 20th of June last month during a press conference which was graced by Minister of Information Communication Technology & Cybersecurity, Supa Mandiwanzira. The minister said government has already notified operators to comply to the new tariffs model by the 1st of July.
Econet, which is the leading mobile network operator by subscribers and infrastructure yesterday notified the public that it has slashed its mobile Internet data charges down to $0.05 per megabyte. Econet which also offer USSD services for various mobile financial solutions also slashed the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data down to $0.05 from the usual $0.12.
The second largest mobile network operation, NetOne also responded to the call and slashed its mobile Internet data tariffs from $0.12 down to $0.05 before tax and then $0.06 after tax. The state owned mobile network operator also cut USSD charges down to $0.05 before tax and also reduced interconnection fees per minute down to $0.02.
(POTRAZ) in collaboration with its parent ministry, the Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security made a bold move last month to slash mobile data and USSD charges by 60 percent, a strategy set to address the high transaction costs of e-payments while boosting financial inclusion.
POTRAZ also announced the scrapping of bank USSD charges which have had a heavy impact on both the banking sector and telecommunications service industry.
According to the telecomms regulator, the Out of Bundle mobile data charges threshold have been reduced from the current average rate of 12.5 cents per Megabyte to 5 cents per Megabyte exclusive of all taxes.
This applies to internet/data that is used outside the WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter bundles among others. This concludes to an exact 60% reduction in data tariffs.
The USSD charges threshold has been reduced from the current 12.5 cents per session to 5 cents per session exclusive of all taxes.
Potraz said this was designed to address the high transaction cost of e-payments and increase financial inclusion. To ensure that this reduction benefits the transacting public, POTRAZ also engaged the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) who will engage Financial Service Providers so that the reduction is passed on to the transacting public.
The National interconnection rate has been reduced from the current 4 cents per minute to 2 cents per minute exclusive of all taxes. This applies across all interconnecting operators.