Can Potraz Facilitate Cheap or Free mobile data because of COVID-19?

A surge in Data Usage is expected to rise due to many people across all sectors have no option but to work from home, learn from home and carry on their day-to-day life activities from home through technological means.

It would be great if telecoms regulator Potraz would request mobile network operators to make their services cheap/free for the duration of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. In regards to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are hoping that our MNO will ensure that they make communication services available to all Zimbabwe.

We believe that there is going to be a rise in data usage, which could put a strain on the capacity of networks. It is therefore critical that Potraz should consider regulatory concessions or relaxations to enable the sector to meet the demands of the business-unusual environment occasioned by the pandemic.

Potraz should request broadband service providers to facilitate affordable or free access to data for the country rather than letting Internet Service Providers rise their tariffs. We are hoping that Potraz’s request to all network service providers to heed the call to enable the country to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by facilitating easy and affordable (and/or free) access to data.

The regulator should engage the sector on possible ways to provide radio frequency spectrum relief for the duration of the declared state of disaster to ease congestion. To the extent that the licensees will wish to tailor packages specifically data packages to respond to the pandemic, Potraz should consider a relaxation of the tariff notification filing requirements to enable the speedy rollout of such packages.