What goes up…

6 Jul 2007

Zimbabwe’s mobile network operators, Econet Wireless, Telecel and NetOne, have been ordered to reduce call charges by up to 1000% as part of an emergency government initiative to combat hyperinflation in the country, which reached 4,500% in May. On Tuesday, Industry and Trade Minister Obert Mpofu, who is also the chairman of the Cabinet Taskforce on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation, ordered a range of businesses, including retailers and service providers, to slash prices. Since regulatory price control ceilings were lifted in the face of skyrocketing inflation in early 2006, all three network operators have implemented a series of huge tariff increases. Yesterday, a spokesperson for market leader Econet said: ‘We were charging ZWD7,000 per minute. The price has been reduced to…ZWD700 after tax.’ Econet’s competitors had been charging similar rates for calls; TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database notes that state-owned NetOne has been charging pre-paid users ZWD7,200 per minute for intra-network domestic calls since May 2007, up from ZWD76 a minute in January 2006. Pre-paid outgoing international calls from Zimbabwean networks have been restricted since February 2007 due to a lack of foreign currency to pay termination charges to foreign networks.