Mobile Network Operators (MNO) will not like the stance, consumer rights watchdog National Consumer Rights Association (Nacora) has taken towards the issue of mobile data tariffs. Nacora has started a campaign which is advocating for the reduction of the existing mobile data tariffs in the spirit of preventing MNO’s from “profiteering” and offering customers “justice and fairness”. Nacora’s advocacy and campaigns adviser, Effie Ncube said:
Let us not forget that this low-cost data campaign is about justice and fairness. We have a lot of weapons we will deploy against this theft and profiteering.
We will do media campaigns, public meetings, engage Potraz, government and service providers like Econet, Netone, Telecel, Africom, among others.
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There cannot be any justification, whatsoever, why any service provider to maintain these exorbitant prices for data. It is an unfair trade and bad business practice.
Data drives economic activity and is critical to the sustenance for security and livelihoods of poor families throughout the country.
There can be no justification, whatsoever, why any service provider can resist unused data to roll over and be transferable like Airtime.
Default out-of-bundle browsing is theft of the highest kind. Millions continue to lose their hard-earned money to this monster. Out-of-bundle browsing must only take place when activated by the consumer.
Nacora’s campaign starts at a time where MNO’s are seeking to review upwards the prevailing mobile data tariffs to match the rise of their operational costs. Zimbabwe’s economic turmoil is hitting the service providers extremely hard so as a way to ease the pain, they want the tariffs to be reviewed upwards. Already, Potraz has warned us that, we have to brace ourselves for network disruptions because MNO’s have foreign currency shortages to pay for their network maintenances cost to foreign companies. As it is, we have already had a taste of these network disruptions.
Although there are some reports that say Zimbabwe’s mobile data is expensive relative to other countries, the reports are quite disputable in how they conduct their study. In any case, Zimbabwe’s mobile data tariffs are determined through a cost-based pricing model (which is unique to every country), so paying attention to what other countries are paying for their mobile internet is not that much of a factor to determine Zimbabwe’s tariffs.