POTRAZ to balance tariff hikes, affordability

Capitalk Reporter |  1 year ago | business

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) says it will allow telecommunication network operators to adjust tariffs along with the rising costs to ensure the sustainability of operations in the sector.

POTRAZ said the rising cost of operations prompted it to approve data and voice call price increases by fixed and mobile network operators, which has raised complaints from subscribers, as income remain low. However, the telecoms regulator said it would remain cautious of the need to guarantee service affordability for subscribers given that disposable incomes remain under pressure.

Resultantly, POTRAZ’s 2021 fourth-quarter sector performance report saw a 13,8 percent decline in national voice traffic while the international outgoing voice calls traffic retreated by 1,9 percent compared to the third quarter. Mobile data traffic declined by 3,5 percent to 24,9 terabytes compared to the third quarter’s traffic of 25,9 terabytes.

The industry regulator said the downturn in volumes for the fourth quarter of 2021 was the only period the sector had recorded a decline in mobile internet and data traffic last year. Presenting the 2021 postal and telecommunications sector performance, PROTAZ director-general, Dr. Gift Machengete said fixed and mobile telephone tariffs had over time been increased to maintain viability.

However, Dr. Machengete noted that while players have moved to address the increasing cost of operating, subscribers’ disposable incomes had not kept pace with the price adjustments. He said POTRAZ is still going to have issues to do with the balancing act of its tariffs and affordability.