Zimbabwe and other countries in SADC could soon be setting mobile data tariffs in line with regional guidelines following plans by a regional telecoms body to enforce universal data tariffs across the region by 2019.
This was one of the issues raised at a regional meeting for the Communications Regulators Association of Southern Africa (CRASA) which is being held in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The meeting which involved a two-day technical session and a two-day session for legal deliberations has convened representatives from Southern Africa’s various telecoms regulators with Zimbabwe represented by POTRAZ officials.
A uniform mobile data pricing framework will involve the regulatory persuasion of mobile operators to set tariffs which strike a balance between consumers’ access of the internet and managing the service providers’ viability.
There have been calls from consumers and activists for the reduction of internet prices with movements like #DataMustFall emerging as a force lobbying for change in countries like South Africa.
In Zimbabwe a mobile data tariff increase effected in January 2017 was reversed following a massive outcry from the public. There are hopes that there will be more done to reduce the cost of data, especially since this has an impact on various aspects of people’s lives.