POTRAZ speaks on why they ordered Econet to revert to old tariffs

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar
Alfred Marisa

POTRAZ deputy director general, Alfred Marisa.
Image credit: POTRAZ website

Econet, POTRAZ deputy director general Alfred Marisa said to us in a telephone interview today, jumped the gun with the latest 10 cents per minute tariffs and this is the reason they have been asked to revert to old pricing with immediate effect. Marisa told us that Econet ran the promotions without POTRAZ approval, a move he said is in direct violation of mobile tariff regulations in Zimbabwe.

Earlier today, Econet sent a statement out to the press notifying the public that they had been directed by the telecoms regulator to end the Buddie Zone promos it launched recently. In the statement, Econet complained that POTRAZ was treating it unfairly as the regulator has allowed competing mobile operators in the country to run similar promos without question.

Asked if this allegation is true Marisa said “Econet did not seek approval for the tariff reduction. We have nothing against promotions, we actually encourage them but they have to be approved first, otherwise some players will abuse their market power.”

The argument between Econet and the regulator is centered on promotions around the Buddie Zone brand. As part of Buddie Zone, Econet subscribers, for some months now, get discounts ranging from 0% to 90% on calls to other Econet subscribers. On Friday last week, Econet announced that the Buddie Zone suit of promos now included a tariff slash of up to 60% on calls by Econet subscribers to other networks effectively slashing off-net calls to 10 cents a minute from 25 cents. The new promo was largely a response to the continued onslaught from competing mobile providers, Telecel and NetOne. Telecel mainly actually.

Now according to Marisa, Econet approached them with the dynamic tariffing – the name of the dynamic discounts concept of Buddie Zone – promotion last year and it was approved with the conditions that it would be for a specific period of time, only applicable to calls within the network and lastly, that the discounts would be limited to 50%.

Marisa told us today that all these conditions have been flouted by Econet as the time period expired some time back (he couldn’t specify when), the new promo was applying on calls to other networks, and the discounts are well above the approved 50% limit (Econet promised 90% discounts in the Friday announcement). As such, Marisa said, they had to enforce the rules hence the move today.

On the accusation by Econet that other mobile operators are not getting the same treatment from the regulator, Marisa said that Telecel specifically, has applied for and got approval for the promotions it’s running – the ones that have caused so much drama locally in the past few weeks. “Look at the Telecel promotion, we approved it and it ends this month unless they ask for an extension,” said Marisa.

We haven’t received an official response from Econet on the new information provided by POTRAZ.  However, POTRAZ choosing to play it by the rule book on this issue will probably have Econet pulling out the “but how come you let an unlicensed operator operate for months without a license?” card.

We will be posting more information on the matter as we get it.


  1. takurira nhamo

    this is Zimbabwe its never ceases to surprise how some people dont want the ordinary person to enjoy

    1. tinm@n

      FYI regulation isnt just about the consumer. It also protects service providers or companies from each other. I advise you to read on anti-competitive behaviour and monopolies. You can start with the Microsoft & IE issue, EU fines and you will see that regulation is applied in most service-provision sectors. Google FTA too and the EU equivalent

      Its not always about you the consumer

      1. tinm@n


        1. doro

          it is not always about the consumer but potraz is being subjective in applying the regulations. are you aware of the promotions being run by telecel?

  2. mabvazuva

    Ko ma100% eNETONE ne Telecel akabvumidzwa nani kana iyo POTRAZ ichiti haidi more than 50% kkkkk. POTRAZ haisiyo inofona these discounts benefit the subscribers saka iyo iri kupinda papi. Other networks are saying mahara to all networks but no problem as far as POTRAZ is concerned. Guys hatisi vanhu venyu isusu POTRAZ tiitirei maserious we want our discounts back tsek mhani

    1. lurker133

      It says kuti Econet were in violation of *their own* specific agreement with POTRAZ about what their Buddie Zone promotions conditions would be. Zvirikunzi if they wanted to make all the changes they did, paidiwa agreement itsva nekuti zvavo zvakasiyana nezvavakange vambobvumirana

  3. Alu Moyo

    Smells like a little payback from POTRAZ to Econet – for making them look like idiots during the whole Telecel disconnection saga. Its almost feels like they’re saying to Econet “You wanna talk about regulations? We’ll show you regulations! WE GOT YOUR REGULATIONS RIGHT HERE – PUNKS!!!”

    1. Zaniest

      good one

    2. LEO

      Hahaha this is a great comment and the fact thats its most likely true makes it even more awesome. lol

    3. vaGudoguru


      1. Alu Moyo

        RELAX – we’re trying to share a light joke here, not get into politics!

        1. truth

          Everything is politics in Zimbabwe

    4. doro

      though it is not fair, i guess you got it right. sando dzako!!!

    5. Blessing Gymo

      thts so true,,,,,, point taken

  4. SufferingZimbo

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Econet paid off POTRAZ to use its original tariffs. Something’s fishy here

    1. Danny

      I wanted to say that but its too far-fetched, they wouldn’t go that far!

    2. L.S.M. Kabweza

      Dude, if you read what each side is saying about the issue, that’s almost 100% highly unlikely. They’d both be good at pretending, and the truth is this is too small a market (and the two are too big organisations) for that to work.

      1. Healthy Skepticizm

        Econet wouldn’t have to pay POTRAZ.They would have simply knowingly flouted their own agreement with POTRAZ and professed ignorance.If they are sincere,they will simply go back to POTRAZ and re-nogotiate their agreement.Finish and clara.

  5. Ignorant

    Econet needs to play nice. I personally think Econet in Zim should be broken up. They hv a pseudo monopoly, which is just unacceptable. Well done POTRAZ…

    1. doro

      very ignorant like your name dude

  6. Muti

    “Hie my name is Potraz & i want to show everyone that i am God by increasing all your tariffs because someone did not came & ask for permission”. 🙂

    1. lurker133

      To be fair, people seem to be more interested in their own reactions than the details of the article. To paraphrase from “according to Marisa…” Econet approached POTRAZ and received approval for the Buddie Zones promotion which they specified would offer on-network discounts up to 50% for a limited time period. Then without further approval or extension they jumped this to 90% (99 actually) and then changed to this awkwardly executed 10c per minute system.
      POTRAZ could have been “reasonable”, maybe penalise Econet but allow them to carry on with their promo, but I guess they felt a need to flex muscles after all Econ’s recent misbehaviour.

      1. Muti

        I might not have understand the Portraz statement but what i know is ,both Potraz & Econet are the beneficiaries of this turnaround (promo).

        1. L.S.M. Kabweza

          in the short term, true. but remember the only reason Econet resorted to the drastic promo was to curb churn rate. Long term, they were losing without the promo

          1. tinm@n

            There’s certainly “opportunism” in the matter. Planned opportunism. Their goal could have been achieved. Think about this:

            – Their action to cut-off Telecel citing license expiration means they were tracking Telecel’s license status and anticipated expiration

            – This means they could have also predicted & anticipated subscriber backlash or reaction to the cut-off, as well as possible exodus of some (primarily) Telecel subscribers

            – So they dangled a lowered rate and the Ecocash advantage to motivate subscriber move during the short period of contention and no inter-connection.

            – Due to FUD, subscribers could have moved or for those dependent on Ecocash now entertain the idea of doing so

            – POST-POTRAZ intervention, Econet smiles. No loss really but gains were made.

            Thats me being “the analyst”

        2. lurker133

          I gave it a rethink and realised that this may well be the true power of a giant. Econet knew full well the rules of this promotion game as they violated them. I suspect they planned this whole debacle simply to regain the victim role that shot them into power. They’ve kinda won this publicity battle whether or not they choose to “fight” for lower tariffs. Masterful!

          1. Muti

            I bet you if Potraz had left Econet alone, Econet would have ended that promo within a month.

  7. Danny

    It looks like your article on “mum is not the word” reached to them and now they have to react! Techzim you are responsible for this, look now they are over-flexing their muscles now!

    1. Muti


  8. Lazzie

    It looks like a PR gimmick from Econet, They should first explain why they stopped Ecocash to non-Econet lines first before we sympathize with them!

  9. Zimbo

    Zimbabwean regulators and price controls – zvakaoma. Hope one day we free markets prevail.

    1. tinm@n

      Free markets have price regulations too. Do you know what the FTA in the US does?

      1. tinm@n


  10. chisi

    Econet reported and punished Telecel for flouting the Regulations rules. Telecel ammended their anomalys. Now Econet flouts their rules and Potraz punishes them – they cry. Econet wants to play Regulator. No no no – follow the rules guys and get ur promos running. We lovethem coz we win in the end. #TellSomeBUDDIE

  11. sikefula

    get away mhani POTRAZ!

  12. bimp

    Econet wants to play the regulator, they r becoming a monopoly and think they can flout the rules even disconnect others at their own accord. Whis why Econet in Kenya known as UMobile is having problems with the regulator CCK over there

  13. Stive Masiyiwa

    This is just a PR gimmick from Econet. They were obviously counting on POTRAZ intervening which is why they began to advertise the “tariff cut” and only reduced their tariffs later. They wanted to minimise their losses as they cannot sustain the 60% tariff cut. Can you honestly tell me that noone at Econet knew that they had to apply to the regulator before adjusting the tariff? Thats a joke!! POTRAZ should have let them go on for two months or so before intervening, they would have shot themselves! # True story

    1. lurker133

      I’d logged on to make a similar comment. I mostly agree with you, but think they’d make LESS PROFIT not actual losses.It’s true though, Econet has been in the game too long (playing by the rules) to have goofed on this.

      I suspect they orchestrated this phony debacle to get that publicity that’s so awesome you can’t pay for it. Econet objectives were to challenge public perception that they’re greedy and refuse to offer real promotions also that they’ve become a bully beyond POTRAZ’s control
      The Game Plan:
      1. Make everyone almost happy with a popular promotion announcement
      2. Have the regulator dress you down publicly and play the victim card
      3. Let the public work itself into a rage over how unfairly you’re being treated
      4. Prepare to count them solidarity dollars as you milk this for all it’s worth
      5. Eventually succeed in reducing tariffs (optional – but it will make you a hero of the people once again!)

      1. Strive Masiyiwa

        I could not have put it better, and clearly I had not!

        1. tinm@n

          Why do you use someone else’s name. I doubt very much that you are him.

          Grow a pair and use another.

          1. Strive Masiyiwa

            oh please, not another internet bully. leave me alone. if you knew who i am you would understand. but you dont so dont waste your time trying to figure out things that you cant.

            1. tinm@n

              Not bothered about who you are. Its really of no consequence.

              More of you assuming the identity of an existing person we actually know.

              If I was wasting my time, wouldnt comment. You still lack a pair

              1. Strive Masiyiwa

                We are the same you and I, we are even using the same name online. I do admit that I do not have a pair as you said, its quite normal for us ladies. I hope you are female too…. Are you? Silly question, of course your are dear…Hugs and kisses….xoxoxo

              2. tinwom@n

                ok, that wasnt expected. good reminder for digressing.

              3. tinngoch@ni

                mashaya apa. iwe tin tin pair yauri kutaura ino nyadzisira and is uncalled for.

      2. chamambom

        Sounds like the series 24 …i like your thinking though but plainly put simple …. potraz wants respect and they are going to definitely get it …..

      3. mufay

        sando dzako sha

      4. truth

        True the goodwill is desrvedly back with econet. They have come a long way and dont deserve to be undone by parasites who want to ride on infrastructure put in place by others.

        1. lurker133

          What is this parasitic riding-on-infrastructure line you fanboys keep going on about? Can someone please explain?



  15. Zvakachipa Ndozvidawo

    Hosiah Chipanga
    Zvakaoma hama dzangu. Satan ari pabasa pake. Sangano rinoona nezvedzinhare POTRAZ hanzi inoda kuranga econet nekuda kwekudzikisa mutengo wekufona kubva 25c kuuya pa 10c. Zvanzi dzokai pa 25c per minute kuitira mamwe macompany? Nhare dzinoitirwa mamwe macompany here kushanda kwavo kana dzinoitirwa isu veruzhinji? Sei hutungamiriri husina hanya nekurarama kwakarerukira vazhinji? Ndarwadziva varombo vogarepi Mwari woye? Sangano rehurumende inotonga kugumbuka kuti sei vanhu vadzikisirwa mitengo? Apa imari ye America? Mwari baba izwaiwo kuchema kwe vana venyu mu Africa. Company yakukosha kudarika munhu asi munhu ari iye anoronga company? Zvanzi munhu ngaatambure afe kusare company. POTRAZ vanhu here kana kuti ma computers asingazive kutambura kwevanhu? Ndiudzeivo hama kuda ndarasika?

    1. tinm@n

      Tozvidawo. Asi todawo kuti kanazvikachipiswa zvitwe nenzira isingazo paradzi vazhinji. Tereseru ne Neti Hwani ika kundikana nemitengo yakadzikisisa, wose ma subscriber achatiza onoenda ko IkoNeti. Zvoreva kuti vanozohokundikana nekuchengeta vashandi. Vakundikana nekuwana mari inoita kuiti paite inonzi “Return On Investment” ne Profit. Vagozovhara kana kutengesera IkoNeti infrastructure yose, vomedzwa ne inonzi “merger”. Poita inonzi “monopoly” inoita kuti kambani imwe igone kuita madiro ne msika (market) yayo.

      Hapana kana Hurumende panyika nemagweta (experts??? or is it lawyer?) ezvemari (economists) vanotsigira chimiro chakadai.

      P.S. Handisi muShona saka ndogona ndarasika mbichana kana kutaura zvinonyadzisa..


      1. tinm@n

        …ndini tini mani

  16. Cde

    Can anything good come out of Potraz

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