The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) in collaboration with the Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security has today slashed mobile data and USSD charges by 40 percent, a move that set to address the high transaction costs of e-payments while boosting financial inclusion.
POTRAZ also announced the scrapping of bank USSD charges which have had a heavy impact on both the banking sector and telecommunications service industry.
According to the telecomms regulator, the Out of Bundle mobile data charges threshold have been reduced from the current average rate of 12.5 cents per Megabyte to 5 cents per Megabyte exclusive of all taxes.
This applies to internet/data that is used outside the WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter bundles among others. This concludes to an exact 40% reduction in data tariffs.
The USSD charges threshold has been reduced from the current 12.5 cents per session to 5 cents per session exclusive of all taxes.
Potraz said this was designed to address the high transaction cost of e-payments and increase financial inclusion. To ensure that this reduction benefits the transacting public, POTRAZ also engaged the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) who will engage Financial Service Providers so that the reduction is passed on to the transacting public.
The National interconnection rate has been reduced from the current 4 cents per minute to 2 cents per minute exclusive of all taxes. This applies across all interconnecting operators.
The thresholds for mobile voice and SMS shall be reviewed in due course. POTRAZ has however overlooked fixed voice charges, leaving the service’s pricing to be determined by market market forces subject to regulatory approval.
Internet Data charges for Internet Access Providers (IAPs) services like ZOL, TelOne, Telco and Liquid Telecom shall be left to market forces subject to regulatory approval.
Potraz has further promised to review the thresholds for charges on telecommunication services on an annual basis in line with market developments.