By Alois Vinga
TELECOMMS giant, Econet Wireless is in talks with the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) for a possible tariff increase prompted by the continuing devaluation of the local currency.
In a statement released this week, Econet said the current inflationary environment continues to erode tariffs effected two months ago.
Econet is the largest mobile operator in Zimbabwe.
“The company together with the other industry players continues to engage with POTRAZ in an effort to go back to a tariff regime that will ensure continued viability of the sector as well as ensure that quality of service standards are maintained,” the statement said.
Econet said during the nine month period ending November 31 2019, traffic volumes declined from the previous quarter following the headline tariff adjustments in August 2019 and October 2019.
As a result, the business continues to customise consumer packages to maintain affordability in light of the depressed consumer disposable incomes whilst pricing within the confines of responsible business practice.
Compared to the same period in the prior year, the company grew its market share on the back of volume growth in voice minutes, data and SMS traffic.
Said Econet, “In addition to the sub-economic tariff, erratic grid power supply and escalating fuel costs significantly impacted base station running costs.
“Management continues to devise innovative solutions to manage the power situation. Deployment of solar equipment and hybrid batteries across our base stations and switching centres is now at an advanced stage.
“Going forward, the depreciation of the local currency is expected to negatively impact the financial performance of the Group while focusing on market leadership through understanding its customers and providing service quality
“However, the investment in Liquid Telecom Holdings more than offsets our exposure to foreign currency vendor obligations resulting in a net positive foreign currency asset position,.
In October last year , POTRAZ approved an upward 95,39 percent voice, data and SMS tariff adjustment for both mobile and fixed network operators.
As a result Econet increased its voice tariff by 98 percent to $0,963 per minute from $0,486 per minute in August, while data and SMS prices went up to $0,1926 per MB and $0,2440 per SMS respectively.