Mobile Price Wars Impact Money Transfers In Zimbabwe

By Pete Rizzo, Editor (@pete_rizzo)

Zimbabwe’s mobile price wars raged once again on August 16 when Econet Wireless, a domestic mobile assurance and money transfer services provider, announced it would lower the price of calls to other networks by 60 percent, BDlive reported.

Similar moves from Egypt-based telecom company Telecel and domestic cellular network operator NetOne – which announced deep discounts on tariffs and mobile money offers earlier this year – spurred the Econet announcement.

The Herald indicated Telecel had cut its tariffs by 50 percent before the announcement. The country’s largest newspaper called Econet’s reaction “brutal and ruthless,” as it reduced its call completion rate from over 90 percent to zero percent in response.

Econet also refused to allow its EcoCash product subscribers to facilitate mobile money transfers with other networks, and it cut off interconnectivity calls to Telecel Zimbabwe, its second-largest rival, BDlive reported on July 26. Econet said that Telecel’s failure to secure a license agreement with the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) was the reason for the decision.

Econet called the price cuts “the deepest tariff cut ever introduced on the market,” and further stated that customers could expect this rate on calls made at any hour on any of its packages.

“When we give, we give. We are not the largest operator by accident. Our customers know that the value that we give them in terms of coverage, network quality, services, products and tariffs cannot be matched,” Douglas Mboweni said in a statement on August 16.

Economic analyst Jeffrey Kasirori told BDlive that Zimbabwe mobile users are benefiting from the price cuts.

“Interestingly, it’s the consumer who now has the power as their flexibility, especially in the Zimbabwean context to switch between operators, is forcing the mobile companies to offer promotions and discounts,” Kasirori told the media outlet.

For more on the story, read BDlive’s full report here.

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