Mobile network operators nationwide have adjusted promotional offers in response to rising industry-wide operating costs, which rose 15.8% to $ 8.9 billion in the second quarter of 2021, against 7.6 billion dollars in the first quarter.
Market watchers say the price increase – an average of 30% on data, voice and SMS plans – comes at a time when fuel prices have risen as the country is also experiencing severe blackouts, which increases operating costs.
Zimbabwe Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz) Managing Director Dr Gift Machengete recently said operating costs for the telecommunications industry increased 15.8% to 8, $ 9 billion in the second quarter of 2021, compared to $ 7.6 billion in the first quarter. trimester.
“Personnel costs, depreciation and bandwidth costs continued to constitute the major cost of operating mobile networks,” said Dr. Machengete.
According to Potraz, Econet’s operating costs increased 16.2%, from $ 5.6 billion to $ 6.6 billion, while NetOne and Telecel’s operating costs increased by 10 , 2% and 42.1% respectively.
Dr Machengete added that it was important for the sector, which continues to be critical to sustaining the economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic by providing businesses with essential connectivity and resilience, to charge tariffs. competitive prices and recover their costs.
“The shift to the auction-based currency market system apparently eased inflationary pressures, but did not completely eliminate them, as the prices of goods and services, including fuel and energy, continued to rise. be adjusted in accordance with the dynamics of the new exchange rate regime, “he said.
“Notwithstanding the above, currency shortages continued to disrupt the economy as a whole, with implications for the expansion, upgrade and maintenance of the network, which had a negative impact on the quality of the network. service as the demand for data has increased for operators. Currency constraints also affected targeted universal service projects. for rural and underserved areas. “
Dr Machengete noted that national lockdowns, introduced to combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, have led to an unprecedented increase in the use of the internet to provide online services, including e-learning. , online shopping, online worship and e-health.
“Indeed, the pandemic has highlighted the urgent need to accelerate digital transformation.
“The need to invest more in digital technologies, skills, resilience and innovation can never be overemphasized,” he said.
NetOne was the first to revise its data rates on Tuesday while Econet announced it would adjust its prices tomorrow.
“Please note that we are revising our plan rates effective October 19, 2021,” NetOne said in a statement.