Here is Econet’s full statement defending its position on the reversal of data tariff increases

Posted by Read 28 Comments

Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe’s largest mobile network operator has published a statement detailing its position regarding the recent mobile broadband tariff increases which were criticised by subscribers before being reversed.

In its statement Econet makes scathing remarks against the Minister of ICT, Supa Mandiwanzira, accusing him of falsehoods and linking him and the country’s other mobile operators in a setup to discredit Econet.

It also alleges that the Minister is out to portray the new Director General of POTRAZ, Zimbabwe’s telecoms regulator, as being incompetent.

You can read the full statement below.

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Until July 2016, we were running the WIFI INSIDE PROMOTION, the FREE WIFI ON PREPAID DATA BUNDLES PROMOTION, the INTERNATIONAL VOICE BUNDLES PROMOTION, the SMS AND WIN PROMOTION, and the USAGE BASED PROMOTION. All these promotions had the effect of offering reduced data prices and free data in some instances to our loyal customers. We applied for an extension of these promotions. Our Applications were declined on the basis that a new Regulatory Framework to govern promotions would be introduced in mid-August. This ban on promotions was implemented against a background of Regulatory concerns over the perceived abuse of social media that we were accused of contributing to through our low data tariffs.

Liaison meetings between operators and the Regulator followed. The Regulator communicated its intention to fix a floor price for data and invited operators to contribute to the determination of the floor price. We fully participated in this exercise and in good faith. Being the only operator that has paid the punitive licence renewal fee of $137.5 million and being the only operator that is owed millions of dollars by Government owned competitors in respect of interconnection charges, our pricing structures are bound to be more expensive than those of our Government owned competitors.

Regulatory Notice Number 3 of 2016 was then issued on 7 December 2016 and amended on 29 December 2016 and on 9 January 2017. The Regulatory Notice set the floor prices on data and voice and fixed a mandatory compliance date of 9 January 2017. On 12 January 2017, when it became clear that an exercise that was driven by the Regulator with the full knowledge and participation of The Minister and that we thought would contribute towards leveling the playing field was in fact a farce and a setup intended by the Minister and our competitors who are under the Minister’s control to portray the new Director General of POTRAZ in a bad light and to portray Econet as a gluttonous and insensitive to the public our Board directed us to reverse the data tariff increases. We wrote and delivered a letter to POTRAZ on 12 January 2017 in which we indicated that we would revert to our old tariffs if the regulator did not ensure that all the operators complied with its regulatory notice by end of day 12 January 2017. To anticipate our reversal of the data tariff increases, the Minister, who is supposed to be on leave published a notice in the press in which he claimed to have reversed the tariff increases. This is false and misleading. Up to the time we did the roll back, no such reversal had been communicated to us. Our reversal of the tariff increases followed a directive by our own board.  The Regulatory Notice was subsequently withdrawn after we had already implemented our own measures. This duplicity by the Minister is intended to discredit us in the eyes of our customers and in the eyes of Government and to also portray the new Director General of POTRAZ as incompetent.

We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to our customers and we shall credit the data accounts of our customers with additional data to the amount of the excessive charges. that we levied. We urge the Government of Zimbabwe to move decisively against the capture of this all important industry by an individual who has such inconsistency and duplicity. Since his appointment to this Ministry, he has behaved as if he is the Minister of the Government owned entities alone, and has been relentlessly attacking us without just cause and reversing the gains that this sector has made over the years.

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28 Comments

  1. Macd Chip says:

    Why all this keeps sounding familiar operational operandi from Zanu PF!
    Sounds like the Minister is trying to replay another Mutumwa Mawere on Strive Masiiwa.

    We also saw the same tactic played by Gono on private banks and bankers all to feed the well connected to strip assets and buy them cheap like Obert Obidient Son Mpofu, Kasukuwere etc getting into banking with no idea how to run a bank.

    For how long is Zimbabwe goin to fall into the same pit

  2. Richard says:

    In as much as Econet tries to claim foul play how do they explain the fact that they charged 5 times more than the floor price to their customers. How do they explain that they wanted a higher price for data. It is also clear that in November 2015 Econet lost a court battle in which they were fighting Potraz which had lowered tariffs and they actually wanted higher tariffs. Econet itself is actually doing a great job of discrediting itself and is scoring own goals because of greed. Other operators have seen it and are fully exploiting it’s weaknesses. Econet itself can have customers airtime and data disappear on its network for no reason and still claim government is after them. In fact if allegations of airtime disappearance were investigated in some countries it would have been severely fined but here it does as it wishes albeit with Potraz protecting them. It’s a simple case of Econet being crybabies whenever things don’t go their way. Government or no government Econet is doing a good job of damaging it’s reputation because of its appetite for massive profits.

    1. Sifanele Dlamini says:

      So are you discrediting these events that played in the public domain. I remember very well Econet being blocked from continuing with the promotion stated above.

    2. Muse says:

      I think if we view Econet as a profit seeking company rather than a benevolent individual, everything becomes clear. Their statement seems to say:-
      “If prices are unregulated, we’ll fight competitors any way we can, which can include undercutting them through promotions.
      “If prices get regulated, then we’re game as long as everyone comes on board.”
      Econet will use any LEGAL avenue that will bring money into their coffers. Capitalism.

      1. Tafmakura says:

        Well said, People must separate Econet the company from the person of Strive Masiyiwa who is not the only shareholder of the company, and who through Econet is seeking to make profit first.

      2. abedy says:

        Econet itself can have customers airtime and data disappear on its network for no reason and still claim government is after them……so we can justify them coz they are a profit driven entity? how many of their customers are crying every single day about airtime disappearing even “uchishandisa kambudzi”….apart from all this drama, econet has always been unfair to some of its customers

    3. Anonymous says:

      the GVT and other Competitors owes Econet a lot of money. they are a business not a charity organisation

    4. ini says:

      The explanation is simple for any sound mind in business. The floor was set as for either normal data price or promotion data price. If you set normal data price on the floor, it means you can no longer have promotions since you cannot charge below the 2c. Simple logic.

    5. Anonymous says:

      You need to do your homework and find out how floor pricing works. Clearly you comment from a point of ignorance!!!

  3. Tindo says:

    Econet has a point though, it paid licence fees, it is owned inteconnection fees by the other government players and nothing is being done about it. It is owed money by the other two players and still nothing is being done about it. It seems like they are the only mno that is complying with Potraz. The data floor plan was supposed to come into effect on the 9th of January, Econet complied and the others did not. Nothing was done about. The playing field is not level as the other two are being protected by the government. If it was econet which had failed to comply it would have been another story.

    1. Thomas Matanha says:

      But Econet is benefitting from the same uneven playing field. They are being protected from international players such as MTN. They shouldn’t throw stones in their glass house and try to hide behind Portraz, the regulator.

  4. Bunhu says:

    What doesn’tkill you makes you stronger

  5. man Fidza says:

    but they did not dispute those minutes in which they advocated for higher data prices.They instead justified their request by say they paid the licence and they are owed interconnection fees.My problem is why agree to increase data to such heartless levels? The other two MNOs saw the heartlessness of the new tarriffs and stepped back to play wait and see.They should have had the eyes to see the evilness of that hike.Even if they did see it they should have settled for 2c per mb that would have been $1 for 50mb at least we would know that you sympathise with us.

    1. ini says:

      Did you read the minutes?

      1. Man Fidza says:

        yes i have,whats your point?

        1. Gafa says:

          man fidza and everyone else opposing econet either hamuna kudzidza or muri ve Zanu. mhata dzenyu

  6. Gigi says:

    Any company in Zimbabwe would not make such a statement accusing the minister for duplicity and inconsistent if it was not true.

    1. Macd Chip says:

      For those who are saying Econet pricing was high, stop for a minute and try to think about this?

      – which MNO pay its dues in license fee,
      – which MNO pays tax without failure to gvt
      – which mno is still viewed internationally as a proper business by getting loans approval without gvt help
      – which telco is the best to work as engineer knowing that you will get paid your salary month-end without dates being gazetted

      Once you have that clear in your mind, now consider how a company can meet all those obligations and still able to expand and make profit to sustain itself into the future

    2. EZM says:

      A duplicitous and inconsistent company would!! In this case,

  7. Macd Chip says:

    For those who are saying Econet pricing was high, stop for a minute and try to think about this?

    – which MNO pay its dues in license fee,
    – which MNO pays tax without failure to gvt
    – which mno is still viewed internationally as a proper business by getting loans approval without gvt help
    – which telco is the best to work as engineer knowing that you will get paid your salary month-end without dates being gazetted

    Once you have that clear in your mind, now consider how a company can meet all those obligations and still able to expand and make profit to sustain itself into the future

  8. EZM says:

    Econet needs to stop being so shady. We are educated Econet , we can read . Stop interpreting what is in black and white.
    You colluded with other mobile operators in a meeting without POTRAZ. You then met POTRAZ to sell your idea of a floor price.
    The regulator analysed and set it at a much lower price
    You implemented at 10 c instead of the two cents.
    We the public cried foul.
    Then you decided to blamethe regulator.
    You were caught lying when The minutes of that meeting were leaked here on tech zim
    Now you changed again and are blaming the Minister!!
    Who next Econet ?
    Us the subscribers??

    Yo

  9. why u so dumb? says:

    @ mad chipp viewed internationally ie by the west..but thats not the issue econet must not claim to be blamless and clean..the whole unlimited whatsapp bundles fiasco last year clearly shows that econet dpes npt shy away from taking advantage of its ” valued ” customers. stop viewing econet as this clean cut entity it is a corporation out to make money ..as much mo ey as possible

    1. You don't know the truth says:

      I remember one article where Econet got loans from the east (China). So from west to east they’re still viewed well!!!!

    2. musharukwa says:

      If econet is so bad why are you still a subsriber.Why not go to netone or telecel?…the reason is simple , econet is the better deal like it hate….zimbos are getting ued to freebies from zanu pf to the detriment of the economy…long live econet.let them go to get the cheap service from the other gvt owned operators who dont paf their taxes …

  10. Thomas Matanha says:

    I think we all need to look at all the information now in the public domain holistically.

    Econet has been unmasked for what they are. They lobbied for Portraz to increase data to 5c/MB saying there were viability issues (despite making tens of millions of dollars in profits in 2015). Portraz, thinking of the consumer said the floor should be 2c/mb. Instead of increasing to the floor price of 2c Econet immediately increased to 10c! 1gig of data costs $2 one day and the next it cost about $25! That is profiteering.

    To add to the customers pain Econet decided to send a communication saying they were with the customer and blaming Portraz. I did not see where Portraz said they must increase the prices to 5 times the floor price.

    Econet must be grateful to the regulator instead of attacking them. The regulator so keeping the international operators such as MTN out of Zimbabwe. That’s a direct benefit to Econet yet the just want to complain about unsubstantiated benefits that local operators get from the regulator.

    We see you for what you are Econet. Well done to Portraz for seeing through this scam and acting decisively in conjunction with the ministry.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Econet scored own goals

    the floor price was pegged at 2c/MB then they charged 10c/MB . so now whom are they trying to blind. this is simple mathematics. if they had is subscribers at heart they shouldn’t hike prices in such a cruel manner. they must stop pointing the minister and other operators Econet is after maximizing profits. away from data charges their Ecocash charges are exorbitant. withdrawing $100 they charged $3 but withdrawing from a bank its only $1 being charged. we should abandon this network and migrate to other affordable networks. airtime and data bundles are just disappearing from our accounts and they can’t explain on that. they want to hid behind a finger.

    1. Banker says:

      Why don’t you just go and withdraw from the bank????

Comments are closed.