The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, (POTRAZ) has justified the increase of data prices by mobile network operators despite the outcry from users, who are saying the new prices are now expensive and beyond the reach of ordinary citizens.
POTRAZ Director General Dr Gift Machengete said the new prices ensure viability of the sector as the cost to provide telecommunication services in the country has gone up.
The development saw a lot of media organizations alleging that Zimbabwe now has the highest data tariffs in the SADC region.
However, Dr Machengete maintained that the country has the lowest data tariffs compared to other countries in the region.
“We reiterate that this is not only false but misleading and malicious. As a matter of fact, and contrary to that report, Zimbabwe has the lowest data tariff in the SADC region, with an out-of-bundle tariff of ZWL$14 930, which translates to US$3,21 per GB at the September 2023 official exchange rate while the SADC average is US$4,60,” Dr Machengete said.
The statement comes after the newly appointed Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Tatenda Mavetera had given a hint that she would engage POTRAZ to work towards reducing data prices on her official X page.
“I have noted the concerns and outcry on the recent increase of data charges and I would like to assure you Zimbabweans that we are working on it together with @Potraz_zw expeditiously,” reads the post.
Data prices have increased on Zimbabwean Dollar packages across all mobile network operators. However, packages that are priced in U.S dollars have remained stagnant.