Mobile telephone subscribers are up in arms with service providers following the latest adjustment in data and voice tariffs, with the majority accusing them of profiteering at the expense of customers.
Telecommunications Expert, Mr Tichaona Mushambadope said the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) needs to play an intermediary role that also protects the interests of consumers.
“POTRAZ should be at the forefront in negotiating with operators so that they get a fair tariff because if you look at the current situation there is no sympathy with the general subscriber except for protecting the interest of subscribers. The problem might be that POTRAZ also get a fair share of their revenue from those tariffs,” he said.
In response, POTRAZ Director General, Dr Gift Machengete said the regulatory body has in fact kept operators on their toes, adding that power outages may be the biggest contributing factor to the latest adjustment of tariffs.
“Let me hasten to say that mobile operators have not adjusted tariffs since 2009, but the recent adjustments were motivated by the inflationary trends which impacted the whole economy. The persistent power shortages have also resulted in operators using diesel to power their base stations, which obviously increases operating costs which are passed on to subscribers,” said Dr Machengete.
Mobile operators consume at least 15 megawatts of power to run their base stations, with calls being made for operators to consider powering their base stations with solar.