By Alois Vinga
LEADING telecommunications services provider, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited (EWZL), is set to increase tariffs by a total 183% through staggered reviews in the next three months.
The development, likely to pinch already burdened customers more reliant on data services to conduct business, got approval from the regulator, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ).
It also comes on the backdrop of rising inflationary pressures which have eroded the value of the local currency.
In a recent update, EWZL company secretary, Charles Banda said the total increase will be staggered through three equal monthly instalments.
“The telecommunications sector was granted a staggered tariff adjustment by the regulator of 61% in July 2022, and a further 61% with effect from 1 September 2022, and a further 61% with effect from 1 November 2022.
“The tariff adjustments will cover voice, SMS, data and internet services and are determined in the local currency,” he said.
Despite the company’s move to trade some of its products in foreign currency following due regulatory approvals recently, access to US$ sales remains severely constrained creating further challenges in implementation of necessary network upgrades to assure the continued level of high quality service experienced by our customers.
To date, EWZ was the first mobile network operator to roll out 5G service in Harare towards the end of the last financial year.
In the quarter under review, 5G service was further rolled out in Bulawayo during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF 2022) and in Victoria Falls as well as in Chitungwiza, bringing the total number of 5G sites rolled out to 22.
The business added 100 new 4G sites to improve network and speed of data connectivity.
“However, as inflation increases and disposable incomes are coming under more pressure, there is a discernible increase in the theft of diesel, batteries and solar panels. In response, we have enhanced security at our sites to counter the effects of increased vandalism and theft,” said Banda.
Going forward, the group believes that a scientific and fact-based approach to setting tariffs that takes into account the movements in the Telecommunications Price Index, set to be adopted for the industry will allow the group to remain focused on delivering high quality digital services across the country.