June 21, 2018 / 10:18 AM / 6 months ago

Zimbabwe regulator cuts mobile data tariffs by 60 percent

HARARE, June 21 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s telecoms regulator has cut the price of mobile data by 60 percent with effect from next month, it said on Thursday, adding that it will now review charges annually.

Lower prices will likely increase the country’s Internet penetration rate, which the country’s regulator says stood at 50.8 percent last December, as more subscribers find it cheaper to access the Internet.

Data showed Internet traffic doubled between January and December last year, but the price reduction could eat into data revenue for Econet Wireless, the country’s largest operator.

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) said mobile data will cost 5 cents per megabyte, down from 12.5 cents, exclusive of taxes effective July 1.

“The authority took into account the prevailing economic environment as well as the competing needs of ensuring operator viability and service affordability for the consumers,” it said.

POTRAZ said charges by Internet service providers would be determined by the market but imposed a 50 percent cut in the cost of calls between local telecoms companies.

Econet, which accounted for 65 percent of the data market share as of December 2017, did not immediately respond when reached for comment.

In the full year to end-February, Econet said its data revenue rose 18 percent to $145 million after adding more subscribers. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe Editing by James Macharia)

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