Price slash kills cell phone ops

HARARE
Zimbabwe's mobile phone operators are groaning under unprecedented losses
since the June 25 price slash directive that imposed a 1,000 percent
reduction in tariffs.
Government contends the slash would ease Zimbabwe's rampaging
hyperinflation, as telecommunications comprise a

significant weight in the
basket used in calculating the consumer price index.
Econet Wireless, which enjoys about 57 percent of the local subscriber
share, has already sent distress calls to the Communications ministry
stating that the new tariff structure was totally unsustainable. Its
competitors, privately owned Telecel, which has 17 percent of the local
market and state run Net*One with 26 percent have made similar
representations.
The price slash was effected across all tariffs, from intra-network,
inter-network, international outgoing and SMS. Charges were slashed from
$10,000 per minute to an average $700 per minute. The result has been
congestion along with massive losses for operators.
Zimbabwean mobile phone networks have to meet 95 percent of their costs in
foreign currency. The networks have long complained about rigid regulatory
oversight over tariffs, a factor which has impacted negatively on revenue.

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