Call rates to Zimbabwe set to drop further

Industry experts are forecasting that South African mobile network companies will lower call rates to Zimbabwe.

MTN has become the latest to lower rates to its neighbours. The Johannesburg-based company took on competitors with a new international call tariff, announcing it would cost R3.89 a minute to Zimbabwe and other neighbouring countries.

“We are introducing an offer that would address the growing needs of our customers to make cheaper calls to international destinations either for business or for personal reasons,” MTN South Africa’s chief marketing officer, Brian Gouldie, told The Zimbabwean in a statement recently.

The move to slash call rates comes amid intense competition for clients by the country’s four mobile network firms.

Among these is Cell C, whose Call Home offer, in conjunction with Econet, puts calls to Zimbabwe at R2.50 per minute.

Vodacom, on the other hand, has special call rates to a number of international destinations, but does not cover Zimbabwe. The latest entrant to the market, Telkom Mobile, does not have special rates to international markets. It costs about R6 a minute to make a call through these networks.

“It would not be surprising if these two companies joined in the fray, as they are missing out on the benefits of having such special rates in place. Zimbabweans here are a lucrative segment of the local market and are constantly in touch with friends and family back home,” said a Johannesburg-based analyst.

With around three million Zimbabweans living in South Africa, many millions of rand are at stake.

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