Local mobile voice call tariffs tumble

Nigel Gambanga Avatar

Telecel-Go-BrandLet’s all take a minute to celebrate the sweet spot mobile subscribers are in right now. As the battle for voice call revenue among network subscribers rages on, each network has launched promotions aimed at building loyalty and ensuring that subscribers do more than just “WhatsApp” and “Facebook” on their devices.

For local network operators, voice and SMS revenue still command a huge sway on performance, far more than broadband services that are yet to reach maturity because of subdued smartphone penetration. As such the operators have to give subscribers, who are usually multiple SIM card owners, an incentive to make calls on their networks.

Previous “mobile tariff wars” have largely been centred on huge discounts for on-net voice calls, with drastic reductions on calls across all networks being prohibited by the regulator. Lately it seems as though everyone has been given a green light for competitive voice call deals through bundles and promotions that stretch the subscriber’s dollar.

Telecel, always the first to offer enticing bargains and freebies, is offering voice bundles that give 10 minutes on calls across networks for $1 and 22 minutes for a $2 bundle. This is part of the Telecel Go brand that also gives subscribers two tariff options.

Netone-Weekend-Mahala-PromoNetOne, not to be outdone by the other networks, is also putting up a fight with a fixed tariff of 14 cents per minute to calls made across networks from all their subscribers, both prepaid and post-paid.

This offer, valid from 1 July to the 30th of September 2014 is supported by their Mahala Weekend and Dollar A Day Promotions that zero rate off-peak, on-net calls for prepaid subscribers that spend at least a dollar a day.

Econet-BundlesThe largest operator, Econet, has its own tariff reduction through the Bundles Of Joy promotion which gives all inclusive bundles that throw in SMS and data as well . With a $1 recharge giving 10 minutes for on-net calls only, this is the resurrection of a similar promo from last year that reached it’s peak when Econet offered the 10 cents per minute tariff to calls across all networks.

The promo was halted when POTRAZ forced Econet to revert to the normal tariffs, a restriction that doesn’t seem to be affecting Telecel this time around with their current promo that caters for calls across all networks. One wonders if Econet is still on the leash that it was put on by the regulator last year or if this is some wait and see strategy instead.

While all these temporary tariff reductions are commendable it’s worth noting that the the current tariffs are already being reviewed with a reduction likely to be effected. POTRAZ is at advanced stages of implementing the recommendations for the LRIC pricing model so we could be celebrating promotional tariffs that in fact should be the standard voice tariffs for all networks.

What sort of tariffs do you think we should be paying? Which of the three networks do you think is offering the best deal here?


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