LEADING telecoms company, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, has reviewed upwards prices for its promotional data and SMS bundles citing rising operating costs.
The voice bundle price remains unchanged.
“Dear customer, Please take note, there will be changes in ZWL Voice, Data & SMS bundles effective Wednesday 08 February 2023,” the company said in a notice to customers.
According to the new tariff schedule, a daily 10 SMS bundle now costs $64.98 up from $51.98, while a weekly 200 SMS bundle has been adjusted from $820.07 to $1531.10.
At the same time, prices for application-to-person messaging (A2P), also known as bulk SMS, have increased from $2.75 per message to $6.00.
Econet has also revised its hourly 1 Gigabyte (GB) bundle to $1 011, from $808.96, with the two hourly 1GB bundle set to go up to $2 562 from $1 349.68.
The price of Econet’s 8GB Private Wifi bundle has been adjusted to $18 557.00, up from $14 845.32. The 15GB Private WiFi bundle, valid for 30 days, was also revised upwards from $26 804.39 to $33 505.50, while the 50GB private WiFi bundle will cost $84 351.00, up from $67 480.63.
Although Econet did not review prices for voice bundles, the company’s four-minute ‘Bundle of Joy’ has been scrapped.
Customers that had already purchased the 4-minute ‘Bundle of Joy’ will, however, be able to continue using it until its expiry date, said the company.
Citing the recent increase in fuel prices over the last few weeks, which saw diesel going up from an average of US$1.60 per litre to US$1.74 per litre, the company said fuel was a critical component in running backup generators to power mobile network base stations and keeping the network up in the face of load-shedding.
The local dollar has also lost significant ground to the United States dollar since November last year when the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) allowed mobile network operators to adjust their tariffs, said Econet.
From trading at $646 to US$1 in November, Zim-dollar is now trading at $812 to US$1 this month, showing a 25 percent slide over the past three months, a development that has seen a rise in the prices of basic goods and services in domestic currency.
According to Potraz, the telecommunications industry was facing threats from rising operating costs, inflation, power availability, vandalism, and foreign currency shortages, among others.
“Operating costs incurred by the mobile network operators increased by 97.1 percent to record $48.6 billion in the third quarter of 2022, from $24.6 billion recorded in the second quarter of 2022.
“Bandwidth costs constituted the bulk of operating costs by mobile operators (30.1 percent), followed by staff costs (19 percent). The trend of rising costs is attributable to the inflationary pressures in the economy, from which the sector has not been spared,” said Dr Gift Machengete, Potraz director general in the latest industry performance report.