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Potraz to review tariffs

by Staff reporter
09 Apr 2024 at 06:17hrs | Views
THE Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) is considering adjusting tariffs in the sector to ensure sustainability.

Speaking at a recent stakeholders' engagement in Harare, POTRAZ director-general Dr Gift Machengete said a collapsed Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector would spell doom for the general public and national aspirations.

"As the regulator, we are faced with the imperative need to consider tariff adjustments to protect our sector from collapse," he said.

"The ICT sector plays a fundamental role in driving economic growth, fostering innovation and improving the quality of life for people around the globe. However, these advancements come at a cost. From the deployment and maintenance of infrastructure, to the development of cutting-edge technologies and services, the ICT industry requires substantial capital investment to remain competitive and meet the evolving needs of society.

"Without sufficient revenue generated from tariffs, ICT operators may struggle to fund essential infrastructure upgrades, expand network coverage to underserved areas, or invest in research and development initiatives. While consumers rightfully seek affordability and accessibility, it is essential to recognise that maintaining an ICT infrastructure of high quality and reliability requires adequate investment and sustainable revenue streams."

Dr Machengete said while the need to increase tariffs may seem counterproductive in a world where affordability is paramount, it was crucial to strike a delicate balance between ensuring access to essential ICT services and safeguarding the long-term viability of the sector.

He said tariff adjustments must be approached thoughtfully, taking into account the needs and realities of both consumers and industry stakeholders.

"Solving this problem, I believe, begins with transparency around obtaining tariff structures which is something we have demanded from operators.

"This very workshop will bring about that needed transparency as it will empower consumers to always hold to account operators as it is one of their regulatory obligations. Apart from a lack of transparency around tariff structures, another serious offense is the failure by operators to inform consumers about service downtime.

"Time and time again, consumers are left in the dark, unaware of scheduled maintenance or unexpected outages that disrupt their ability to stay connected. This lack of transparency breeds mistrust and undermines the relationship between consumers and service providers".

Dr Machengete also said the other burning issue they shall spotlight is the persistent problem of disappearing data.

Source - The Herald
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