BY VARAIDZO MUDEWAIRI
THE Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) has called for regulation of mobile data tariffs to protect poor citizens.
The Zimcodd statement came after mobile service providers last week hiked mobile data tariffs, with Econet charging $6 600 for 25GB or US$57, NetOne $6 500 or US$56 for 25GB and Telecel $6 000 for 20GB or US$52.
Zimcodd said: “The continuous price increases by the telecoms give credence to calls for the government to impose caps on data price increases to ensure that all Zimbabweans enjoy the right to access the internet.”
“Ordinary citizens who can hardly afford basics, more than half of whom are living in extreme poverty are heavily impacted and thereby left behind.
“According to ZimStats [Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency], an average family of six needs $36 918 for food as at January 2022. The average salary for civil servants has remained constant at $30 000. This means that internet access becomes a luxury.”
Zimcodd also said the high data costs would negatively affect the education sector by further widening the digital divide between students in private schools and those in government-run schools during the COVID-19 era.
Internet in Zimbabwe is controlled by seven major service providers that are profit-making businesses.
The private mobile operators cited various reasons to justify the data price increases, which included rising operational costs, power cuts and extensive vandalism of their infrastructure.
Older PostGokomere students trial postponed