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Zimbabwean telcos hike prices as high inflation bites

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Zimbabwe's mobile prices are going up by as much as 61% as soaring inflation risks putting local operators out of business.

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has reportedly approved tariff increases to help operators survive rising input costs due to the Southern African country's weakening local currency and high inflation.

The last time the regulator ran a tariff review was in September 2021 and since then Zimbabwe's inflation has risen from around 50% to more than 190% as of June 2022.

Local publication, The Chronicle, quoted POTRAZ director general, Gift Machengete, saying that the tariff review was necessary as failure to increase prices would adversely affect operator viability, result in poor quality of services, lead to job losses or even risk operator closures.

Zimbabwe's sluggish economy is weighing on the telecom market and last month state-owned operator TelOne revealed it was struggling to keep its head above water, ITWeb Africa reported.

The Herald reported that Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe's largest operator, this week already increased the price of its voice calls, SMS and data prices as has TelOne.

The Zimbabwean dollar has dropped over 70% against the US dollar so far in 2022 while electricity prices in the country have gone up over 350%, a major impact for telecoms operators which use electricity to keep their networks up and running and users connected. The rising cost of diesel – which is used during power cuts and load shedding – is also putting pressure on mobile networks in the country.

Last month Zimbabwe’s central bank outlined plans to make the US dollar legal tender in the nation for the next five years.

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*Top image source: Flag wave photo created by wirestock - .

— The Staff, Connecting Africa

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