Potraz decision unfair to Econet, subscribers

HARARE - The recent move by the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (Potraz) to bar Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (Econet) from running its discounted airtime promotion is not only competitively unfair but a huge let down to mobile subscribers.

Econet had launched a campaign slashing call costs by 60 percent — the deepest cut ever introduced on the market — from $0, 25 to $0, 10 across all networks.

However, the regulator argued that the wireless network operator could not reduce call charges by more than 50 percent.

“Given the foregoing, we hereby direct Econet to stop the implementation of the advertised tariffs with immediate effect and no further Buddie Zone advertisements should be flighted in any media issue or released after 4pm on Tuesday the 20th of August 2013,” said Potraz in a letter to the wireless network operator, further warning that punitive measures could be taken if the mobile operator did not comply.

It is of course unjust to Econet. Why? Econet is not the first in the market to come up with such campaigns. Potraz’s decision comes at a time when, for a while, other mobile network operators have been running similar campaigns — slashing mobile tariffs and offering massive airtime bonuses.

It’s clear that Econet went further and ahead of its rivals. Its campaign was a game changer.

It was certainly going to attract more subscribers to its platform — which is already the largest in the country with approximately eight million subscribers.

Apart from Potraz’s stance being tantamount to interfering with the market and seemingly being selective in the regulation of mobile operators, the move dissuades innovation and kills competition in the mobile market, which is of course healthy for the consumer.

Considering that Econet serves more than two thirds of Zimbabwe’s 12 million population, the tariff slash should have been a huge relief to the nation.

Actually, Potraz should promote and foster growth in the mobile industry.

Such aggressive and innovative consumer-focused products or services by Econet were a wake-up call for other players.

Instead, the regulator has failed to fully open up the market to new players.

We expect better from Potraz for both the mobile operators and subscribers/consumers.

Comments (4)

When econet cut off Telecel into their network they thought it was OK. Now that chidembo chavakukwehwa chavakuti mavara angu ozara ivhu. The same issue that we were crying for as telecel subscribers was thought to be Fair.

Takura A Chatikobo - 23 August 2013

If Telecel was not paying what they had to pay Econet, they had to be cut off. Telecel customers can choose another provider if their provider is irresponsible. Hauna nyaya Takura

Mike Hove - 23 August 2013

I dont see unjust here. The law stipulates that any price change should be communicated to potraz of which econet did not do. So its an illegal move. Besides this move by econet is not to benefit consumers. but it is to bulldoze everyone out of the market and so that it can enjoy a monopoly. After having a monopoly it will charge up to 50c per minute. They are failing to honour their promise through buddie zone.

Doctor Gudo - 24 August 2013

you are right, econet wants to bulldoz others out of the game which they already have a monopoly, and econet as far as i can is trying to give potraz a bad name, econet wants others to play by the rules e.g the telecel issue but itself doesnt want to play by the rules trying to break the law. vanzwa bata.

my true zim - 24 August 2013

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.