Last week we ran an article titled “Africom and Valley Technologies to launch mobile phone networks”. In it we said that the two Internet Access Providers will be launching networks in the coming months and that they are currently conducting tests and finalizing interconnection with other telecoms providers.
Today, Valley Technologies, a Spiritage Group subsidiary, has published a ‘Tariff Guide’ in the local print press. Publishing the tariffs is a regulatory requirement from POTRAZ, Zimbabwe’s telecoms regulator.
We’re happy that this means Valley Tech is close to launch. Indications to date are that there’s potential to seriously shake up current data and voice services in the country so inching close to launch is welcome news. There are more pleasing details in the tariff guide. It is how significantly low the voice tariffs are.
Voice calls within the Valley network are priced at a maximum of US 5 cents per minute. Calls to other local networks are at a maximum of US 10 cents per minute. International calls will cost 27 cents per minute. SMS will cost US 5 cents and US 8 cents for local and international respectively. The tariffs are exclusive of VAT.
Assuming there are no other hidden costs, (like fixed monthly subscriptions for example) local calls to other networks will be over 50% cheaper than they are on existing mobile networks. Calls within the Valley network will be 75% cheaper than calls within other networks presently.
Currently, all mobile networks charge US 23 cents for calls within the network and, except for Telecel, US 25 cents for calls to other networks. Telecel charges US 23 cents for all calls to mobile phones.
There are other issues to consider ofcourse; choosing a network is not all about the lowest price tag. Issues like network coverage, service reliability, quality of support, total cost of setup and other issues all need due consideration before crossing over. But then again, besides network coverage, which one of the existing operators is performing well on any of the other factors. Valley Technologies would need to provide a significantly poor service to go lower than current standards.
This will surely have a huge impact on the current telecoms landscape. Mobile subscribers are bound to consider migrating. I for one will definitely be crossing over as soon as they launch. Depending on my experience when I do, that might be a permanent move until another great deal comes along.
We’d love to know your opinion on this. If this the start of mobile voice price wars in Zimbabwe?