So about two months ago we asked an official from the Postal and Telecoms Regulation Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) about what was apparently the selective application of VSAT licensing regulations. TelOne, a government owned fixed line operator, introduced cheap VSAT in May this year, but it later turned out it was cheap because, unlike the competition, they are not paying licensing fees for it. By law, every operator that lands VSAT in Zimbabwe from outside is supposed to pay a US $1,500 annual fee per installation.
In response to our questions, POTRAZ said they had actually waived the licensing fee for “some operators”. At that same time, a government official, the ICT ministry deputy minister, Dr. B.J. Mlambo, told us they don’t do favourites.
This week however, through adverts showing in the print press, we noticed that iWayAfrica, one of the larger ISPs in Zimbabwe, is still levying the$1,500 licensing fee. Effectively, that means iWay’s minimum price for VSAT has a $125 monthly component they can’t do anything about. So no matter how aggressive they get trying to compete with TelOne right now, there’s just no way to beat TelOne’s $51 a month price.
If you were looking to buy VSAT, the only reason you’d get iWay’s is if you felt sorry for them. But who bases such decisions on pity? Well, maybe their customer care is $125 better. I guess POTRAZ’s talk was just that, talk.
Here’s the iWayAfrica VSAT pricing page: