Econet charges for overseas calls in foreign currency

26 Sep 2008

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has given permission for Econet Wireless Zimbabwe to charge for international calls in foreign currency, more than a year after the cellco submitted an application to implement the system. Its CEO, Douglas Mboweni, told local reporters that selling forex recharge cards would enable the company to pay international interconnection fees and buy essential equipment from abroad. According to Mboweni, foreign currency services will be available to post- and pre-paid subscribers, and will help solve Econet’s existing network congestion problems. The CEO added that settling foreign currency obligations for terminating international calls remained a challenge to all telecoms providers in hyperinflation-hit Zimbabwe, and had been compounded by the fact that operators were obliged to charge for services in virtually worthless local currency: ‘The more people were making international calls, the more we were sinking,’ he said. Mr Mboweni said Econet subscribers without access to foreign cash could continue to purchase recharge cards using local currency.