Friday, 13 January 2017

Econet Beats Hasty Retreat On Data Price Hike

ECONET Wireless has reversed its data tariffs hike after it emerged that it was the only mobile operator in the country to have complied with the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) floor prices that set data bundles at a minimum of $0.02 per megabyte.

Some mobile operators, including the Government-owned mobile operator, NetOne, had not yet effected the new tariffs as they were reportedly in the process of engaging POTRAZ seeking a downward review of its latest tariffs.

The reverse came after the Government suspended the mobile data tariff increases with immediate effect and ordered Econet Wireless to reimburse affected parties.

There has been a backlash from mobile phone users who felt cheated by the mobile operator.

In a statement yesterday, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe said reversing the price hike was a necessity until deliberations with POTRAZ had been finalised.

“While continuing to engage POTRAZ concerning the data floor pricing directive, Econet Wireless is reverting to the old data tariffs,” reads part of the statement.

“It became apparent after implementing the POTRAZ directive that Econet Wireless was the only operator which had complied with the data floor pricing.”

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe admitted to having disadvantaged its customers as other operators were yet to comply with the directive.

“It’s clear that, for whatever reason, the other operators had not complied with the directive and therefore, there can never be a level playing field when our customers are the only ones being affected by this position,” the statement said.

Some mobile phone users who spoke to our Harare Bureau felt relieved by the suspension of tariff hikes, but expressed concern over the string of confusion surrounding the introduction of new policies that are imposed without full consultations at the cost of customers.

The regulator told mobile operators to set the floor price for traditional voice services at $0.12 per minute, while the floor price for data was set at $0.02 per megabyte.

Econet Wireless advertised that according to the new tariffs, the cheapest data bundles (5MB on a standard connection, plus another 5MB available on WiFi), would have cost $0.50, while $1 would buy 10MB plus the bonus 10MB on WiFi.

The highest amount of data bundles one would get (2.5GB plus, 2.5GB bonus on WiFi) would have cost $50.

The cheapest data bundles had been set at $0.50 and would come with 10MB of data plus a 10MB bonus.
Econet Beats Hasty Retreat On Data Price Hike
Subscribers used to pay $2.50 for a month’s access of data bundles, which would have only purchased 80MB plus an extra 80MB on WiFi, according to Econet’s new tariff regime.
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