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#Broadband

Econet, Telecel and NetOne tariff reduction talks with POTRAZ underway

Men staring at a phone
   

After all has been said and done, whatever happens to or in Zimbabwe, we want to one day wake up to cheaper data prices!

As advised yesterday, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) said it is in talks with local mobile phone companies over a tariff reduction. These reductions are said to only be implemented beginning of next year i.e 2018, in January to be precise. The idea is to set the prices that make sense in these prevailing economic conditions.

It goes without saying that this would be good for us the consumers but what about the providers? It’s obviously going to take more than a “reduce your tariffs” instruction to do the trick. It has to be both beneficial to the consumer, as well as profitable to the provider lest they go out of business and close shop – which is also not a good story for the consumer.

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Also revealed in the report are the plan of infrastructure sharing. No doubt that this has been a huge challenge in the past. To be frank, infrastructure sharing has been a like a song on replay, being sang by both government and other stakeholders. So I’m really hoping that this isn’t just another case of all talk and no do.

Infrastructure sharing is an ideal way to get Mobile network Operators (MNO) pricing lower as it cuts on the costs of ‘production’. However with the current status quo, that’s definitely not happening. As it is, only Econet has considerable infrastructure to share while the other players have nothing much to bring to the table. So apart from that being a strain on Econet’s hard earned resources, it also compromises on their competitive advantage, which in essence doesn’t make the sharing thing such a good idea for the company.

Nonetheless, early this year, TelOne launched a data centre. Of course a data centre is just a fraction of the infrastructure required, but it’s something. Remember, if the government is advocating for infrastructure sharing then it only makes sense for it to be at helm of building the infrastructure. So considering that TelOne is government owned that could be promising. Problem however is the rate at which this is being done. If the infrastructure is being built at this rate, then it might be a while before we actually enjoy the fruits.


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