Econet emerges from ‘crippling’ price freeze, ups tariffs 450%

4 Dec 2007

Zimbabwe’s largest mobile network operator, Econet Wireless, has raised its GSM call tariffs by over 450%, following a period of government-imposed price freezing which it says crippled its expansion plans in the crisis-hit country’s hyperinflationary economic climate. Last week Econet complained that the ‘sub-economic’ rates it was forced to charge had not only caused it to suspend all network expansion work but also led to a deterioration of its existing services. Econet Wireless Zimbabwe CEO Douglas Mboweni announced that local call tariffs have been raised from ZWD7,500 to ZWD43,000 per minute for a local call, whilst international per-minute charges have risen from ZWD15,000 to ZWD89,000 in an attempt to shield the operator from continuing runaway inflation and operational costs. Zimbabwe’s currency has been repeatedly revalued as its value has plummeted, and inflation passed 4,500% in May 2007, according to the state’s Central Statistical Office.