Potraz Slashes Mobile Data costs from 12.5c to 5c/MegaBytes

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The Postal and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) on Wednesday said it has concluded a cost modeling exercise for telecommunication network services in Zimbabwe covering mobile, fixed and internet access networks.

In a press release, the Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security said the costing exercise was done by Detecon and was premised on the Long Run Incremental Costing (LRIC) models that were built in 2014 by Detecon.

“The Authority re-engaged Detecon in 2017 to update the LRIC cost models on account of emerging market trends in terms of changing consumer behaviour which is moving from being voice-centric to being data-centric as well as technological evolution, in particular the impact of Over-The-Top services on voice traffic as well as the rollout of new technologies like Long Term Evolution (LTE).

The move by the authority augur well with the prevailing economic environment where the use of technology in businesses has become the norm, as well as providing the competing needs of ensuring operator viability and service affordability for the consumers.

It also ensures the delivery of high-quality innovative services and applications which are critical in enhancing consumer welfare, business community and the country’s overall business competitiveness.

The ICT ministry said POTRAZ has come up with new charges effective July 1, 2018.

“The out of bundle mobile data charges threshold shall be reduced from the current average rate of 12.5 cents per Megabyte to 5 cents per Megabyte exclusive of all taxes and this applies to internet/data that is used outside the WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter bundles among others.

“The USSD charges threshold shall be reduced from the current 12.5 cents per session to 5 cents per session exclusive of all taxes,” it said.

According to the ICT ministry, the reduction is meant to address the high transaction cost of e-payments and increase financial inclusion.

To ensure that this benefits the transacting public, the authority said it has engaged the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) who will engage Financial Service Providers so that the reduction is passed on to the transacting public.

PORTRAZ said that the national interconnection rate shall be reduced from the current 4 cents per minute to 2 cents per minute exclusive of all taxes and this applies across all interconnecting operators.

The ICT ministry said that mobile voice and SMS charges will be reviewed in due course and fixed voice charges and internet/data charges shall be left to market forces subject to regulatory approval.

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