BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
The Postal and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has warned of stiffer penalties on mobile network operators who increased tariffs without approval from the regulator.
This follows an outcry from consumers after some mobile network operators announced an adjustment to their promotions that have affected their charges.
Potraz director-general Gift Machengete yesterday said mobile network operators will be dealt with if they go ahead to increase tariffs without approval.
“We have not authorised any tariff increase and if, at all, they are increasing above their threshold, we will penalise them for such a move. There are no approved increases so far. We have requested the mobile networks to submit information pertaining to their costs for us to feed the information into the TPI, which then informs us if there is any need for tariff increase. Our decisions must be informed by facts,” Machengete said.
He said while consumers must expect an increase within network providers’ promotions, there was no general increment in tariffs above what was approved last year.
Machengete said Potraz was urging mobile network providers to submit their cost structures to justify their demand for tariff increases.
He said service providers have cut down some promotions which they were offering to their clients in order to be competitive which resulted in adjustments.
Service providers have been battling to convince the regulator to approve tariff increases without success with Potraz insisting on charges that are friendly to the consumers.
Last year, the regulator only approved three tariff increases with the last increase issued through regulatory notice circular number 3 of 2019 in August 2019, where mobile tariffs were reviewed by a telecommunications price index.
Meanwhile, Potraz will from today hold its inaugural Hackathon in Kadoma under the theme #Hack4SmartSustainableCities.
In a statement, Potraz said participants for the hackathon have been drawn from nine local universities with each nominating a team of three students, who will represent them in the hackathon competition.
The hackathon concept has been adopted in line with the recommendations of the report prepared by the Zimbabwe delegation to the World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2019.
Hackathon comes from blending the words marathon and hack, where marathon refers to performing a long or difficult activity in a short period, and hack, refers to exploratory computer programming. During a hackathon, participants spend a short period of time, usually between 24-48 hours, building, creating and delivering an information communication solution to a specified problem.