The Director-General of the Postal and Telecommunications Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), Dr Gift Machengeta says that the authority is looking to increase competition in the mobile data market.
“We will continue to monitor data tariffs. We are also working on increasing competition in the data market and, so far, we are in the process of migrating to the converged licensing framework where we expect to increase the number of players in the data market especially the retail end. We believe this will have a positive impact and ensure the affordability of data service. This 2021 we are looking at more ways of reducing data costs,”via The Chronicle
Dr Machengeta’s remarks were made by POTRAZ Director of Economic, Tariffs, and Competition Hilda Mutseyekwa at the recently held Fourth Industrial Revolution seminar hosted by Global Renaissance Investments (GRI).
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More competition would be great but is it possible in Zim?
If you have been on Econet and NetOne over the last week and a half I am sure you’ll be itching for someone new to give them a run for their money. Both mobile network operators (MNOs) have been struggling to provide consistent data for their subscribers.
It would be nice to see a resurgent Telecel or a couple of new MNOs coming into the picture. The big two (Econet especially) have had it their own way for too long. Increasing the number of service providers would be great and would be even better if the new ones arrive with new ideas.
However in saying that, Zimbabwe’s economic environment is not the best at least from what we have seen from the POTRAZ reports. The country’s MNOs have been struggling with foreign exchange losses which have been brought about by the need for equipment and services sourced abroad.
As of Q3 2020, operating costs inclusive of foreign exchange losses were ZWL$16 161 942 218 for all three MNOs. In comparison operating costs exclusive of forex exchange losses were ZWL$2 533 700 425 for the same period.
As much as POTRAZ wants competition in order to drive down data costs. Increasing the number of players might not solve this issue because they will meet the same hurdles that the current players are facing.
Current players can’t assure quality service
As previously mentioned there have been problems with mobile data connectivity this past week. There has been little to no communication from the MNOs as to what is the cause of the service disruptions.
If the players already on the market can’t assure the quality of basic service then what hope does a new player have?