ZIMBABWE’S small mobile operators are charging the most expensive voice call tariffs in the Southern Africa region, a study by Research ICT Africa Network shows. In the study, the smaller operators are referred to as non-dominant operators and Telecel Zimbabwe and NetOne fall under this category. Their peers include Unitel of Cape Verde, Econet Lesotho, MTN Zambia and Orange Cameron.
According to the survey, Zimbabwe’s voice tariffs by non-dominant operators is averaging US21,8c per minute, followed by Angola (US20c), Lesotho (US19,2c), Zambia (18,7c) and Namibia at (US12,8c). In Africa, Zimbabwe was ranked number five.
Cape Verde has the most expensive voice tariff of US38,5c per minute. Togo has the second highest voice call tariff of US25,2c, Madagascar (US22,3c) and Central African Republic at US22,3c.
RIAN conducts research on ICT and telecommunications policy and regulation that facilitates evidence-based and informed policy making for improved access, use and application of ICT for social development and economic growth.
Basing on the dominant operators, Zimbabwe was ranked third in the region with Econet Wireless Zimbabwe charging US22,7c. The most expensive tariffs are in Swaziland at US27c per minute with Lesotho being the second highest charging US23,7c per minute.
Angola then follows Zimbabwe as the fourth most expensive country charging US22,5c while Zambia is on number five charging US19c.
In Africa, Zimbabwe is on number seven and Morocco has the highest tariff of US39,1c per minute. Econet’s peers include Inwi of Morocco, MTN Swaziland, Airtel Malawi and Zambia, Niger and Madagascar, Movicel Unitel of Angola and Unitel of Cape Verde.
The tariffs were obtained by averaging the cost of 40 calls made randomly in one month.
At the moment, Zimbabwe’s mobile operators — Econet (US$1 for 10), Telecel (Super Voice Bundles) and NetOne (Dollar a Day) are in a duel to outdo each other as they are giving their customers enticing promotions.
Seeing how Zimbabwe is dominating the Sadc region as the country with the most expensive voice tariffs, telecoms analysts are of the notion that much more needs to be done by the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe to reduce the tariffs.
“Potraz should step up in ensuring that the voice tariffs are lowered in Zimbabwe so that customers enjoy the calling experience. For Zimbabwe to be in the top three countries with the most expensive voice tariffs, something should be done,” said one analyst who asked not to be named.
Zimbabwe’s dominant mobile operator Econet a fortnight ago slashed the voice call tariffs by 60 percent to US10c, a move which prompted the regulator, Potraz, to order Econet to revert back to its US25c per minute.
Econet’s chief executive, Mr Douglas Mboweni, however, said as a regulatory authority Potraz overstepped its mandate by meddling in the firm’s operational issues.
“The issue that all of us as the operators, the regulators and the policy makers have to take into consideration is the fact that there is the regulatory space that regulators focus on, but there is the operational space, operators focus on,” he was quoted as saying. The Herald