Why Data Tariff Slash is a Big Deal: Zimbabwe
Last week, the government through the Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security slashed out-of-bundle mobile data charges by 60%.
This was announced by Minister Supa Mandiwanzira at the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe(POTRAZ) when they announced their Long Run Average Increment Cost (LRIC). In a statement released to the press and the public.
“The Out of bundle mobile data charges threshold shall be reduced from the current 12.5 cents per Megabyte to 5 cents per Megabyte exclusive to of all taxes. This applies to internet/data that is used outside the WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter bundles among others”.
These changes will take effect from 1 July 2018. In simple terms, what then it means is $1.25 which used to buy only 10 megabytes will now get you 25 megabytes which is twice and half the amount you currently get. Of importance to note, is the fact that these data prices are before taxes, which means that VAT pricing will be added to on to the 5c.
However, it should be noted that as it stands, this will only apply to Econet since the other mobile operating companies, Telecel and Netone don’t have an out-of-bundle browsing option. Great concern is also on the number of users who use the out-of-bundle, to begin with.
In as much, this is a big announcement and a step towards cheap data, a lot still need to be done. Zimbabwe is ranked among the countries with most expensive data. It is, therefore, a big step and hopefully, better services are coming.
The move by the Potraz to reduce mobile data charges will make a lot of active internet users (an individual who can access the Internet, via computer or mobile device, within the home where the individual lives) to enjoy while they will be internet for less especially to Econet subscribers who have been complaining about the pricing of Data services, but to the Mobile Network Operators, it will be a huge blow.
Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) will start experiencing less revenue from data due to active internet users how will get much data for less. Most MNOs have been upgrading their systems and placing in new base stations.
For instance, Telecel who has just started installing 4G base stations in the country, this company will still need to recover from that and to get more subscribers to their network.
Hopefully, the reduction of data prices won’t affect the performance of Internet services, especially on the strength and speed. On the other side of the coin, this 60% reduction will make internet active users penetration will increase from 6,971,617 of 2017.