TelOne told to halve overdue bills in attempt to collect payment

11 Sep 2009

Zimbabwe’s government has ordered national fixed line service provider TelOne to halve all bills sent to customers between February and June this year, reports the Zimbabwe Times, although Information Communication Technology Minister, Nelson Chamisa added that TelOne customers must settle their bills by the end of October to avoid being disconnected. ‘From February to end of June, the tariff is five [US] cents per minute,’ Chamisa told journalists on Tuesday. ‘The tariff was ten cents, which constituted 30 cents per unit [of three minutes]. The bills are going to be revised downwards across the board to [ensure] realistic bills.’ Chamisa said this was consistent with the new methodology of charging for telephone services following a period last year where prices rose on a daily basis due to hyperinflation, as TelOne and mobile operators attempted to cover their costs. Chamisa said TelOne’s original bills resulting from the country’s dollarisation in February 2009 were out of proportion, with some households reportedly receiving bills of up to USD10,000. In June the government, through the advice of the Postal & Telecoms Regulatory Authority Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), agreed a new tariff regime with TelOne, which the service provider adopted at the beginning of July. The minister said that tariffs are now consistent with those charged in the region. According to regional average tariffs observed by the authorities in March this year, South Africa’s MTN was charging 37 cents a unit, Botswana’s Mascom charged 23 cents, Kenya’s Celltel 39 cents, Celtel Zambia 22 cents, Vodacom of Mozambique 28 cents and Lesotho’s Vodacom 38 cents.

Zimbabwe, TelOne