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Marginal tariff increase for Zim telcos

Marginal tariff increase for Zim telcos.

Zimbabwean telecommunications companies will still be reliant on tariff reductions through promotions despite applying for a tariff increase from the industry regulator, Potraz which had approved a 1cent raise effective this month.

In 2015, mobile voice tariffs were charged at 15 cents per minute but have now been raised to 16 cents per minute, according to notices published by mobile operators in the country.

All mobile operators in Zimbabwe are running promotions for voice calls. "We are having to resort to promotions as a way of cutting prices to promote spending on calls," said Angeline Vere, managing director at Telecel Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said in December that the government was listening to representations by telcos in their quest to a secure a tariff raise. According to a tariff notice issued by Telecel Zimbabwe, there is also now no difference in tariffs for both intra network and cross network calls as both are now charged at 16 cents per minute. Text message tariffs are being charged at 6 cents per SMS.

Potraz had indicated that it would reduce tariffs for mobile voice calls in December 2015. Government sources said the regulator had "given an ear" to the concerns of falling revenues by the telecom operators.

"They wanted a higher raise but it was determined that a 1 cent increase would help them without hurting callers through a steep rise in tariffs. Consumers are already struggling while technological advancements and change in costing structure actually favour a tariff reduction," said a source on Monday.

Last year analysts predicted further declines in revenues for local telecommunications companies in 2016.

Econet, the biggest operator, has about 9 million subscribers, followed by NetOne and Telecel with nearly 4 million and around 3.5 million subscribers respectively.

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