Fact-check: Zim does not have the highest data tariffs in Africa

Claim: 2019 Study says Zimbabwe has highest data tariffs in Africa

Verdict: False

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has dismissed as false, a 2019 study by howmuch.net that claimed Zimbabwe had the most expensive data tariffs in Africa with one gigabyte (GB) of mobile data costing $75.20.

POTRAZ Director-General Dr Gift Machengete asked the public to ignore the “misleading” infographic circulating on social media.

“This emanated from a study done in 2019 by howmuch.net that is published on the cable.co.uk website. The circulated infographic is outdated and inaccurate as it does not reflect the true state of affairs during 2019 as well as what it is obtaining now in Zimbabwe and other SADC countries,” he said in a statement.

Dr Machengete said data collected from the Country Reports of the Communication Regulators Association of Southern Africa (CRASA) for 2019 reveals the tariffs for mobile data used for comparison purposes in the study were not in sync with charges obtaining in some SADC countries.

Table below from POTRAZ showing out of bundle mobile data inclusive of taxes for some SADC countries against what is published on the cable.co.uk website

CountryOut of Bundle Mobile Data Tariff (in Local Currency)Out of BundleMobile Data Tariff in US$1 GB Out of Bundle Mobile data tariff GB tariffs from the HowMuch.Net report
South AfricaR0.154US$0.011US$11US$7.19

“From the above table, the circulating report was flawed and not reflective of the true situation on the ground. Accordingly this report must be dismissed with the disgust and contempt it deserves by a nation that is seeking to find its economic space in the world  through attracting investment into the country,” said the POTRAZ director general.

He also added that it was crucial to note the same organisation conduced another study in 2020, published on their website www.cable.co.uk, which excluded Zimbabwe.

“This was due to confusion and problems with currency and exchange rate conversions on the part of the researchers, which did not allow or meaningful comparison. This could have been the same problem that gave the wrong prices for data for Zimbabwe in the 2019 study,” Dr Machengete said.

Dr Machengete said as a way forward, POTRAZ has done computations using the official exchange rate to compare with results from the 2020 study published on the cable.co.uk website.

“The computations show that retail mobile data tariffs in Zimbabwe are relatively cheaper and comparable within the SADC region and beyond as shown as the table above.”

Table 2 Mobile Data bundle tariffs in the SADC region and beyond

CountryCheapest price 1GigAverage (USD)  priceMost expensive/ 1Gig (USD)Global Ranking our of 228 countries
South Africa0.324.3030.47148

Dr Machengete highlighted that mobile internet data tariffs in Zimbabwe are relatively cheaper and comparable to those obtaining within SADC.

“We would like to assure the nation of its commitment to continue enhancing data affordability for all citizens whilst at the same time making sure operator viability. This is a delicate balance that requires concerted effort, including fiscal intervention to address declining disposable incomes,” he said.

“On its part, POTRAZ has endeavoured to balance service affordability and operator viability by making sure that tariffs are cost based using scientifically accepted costing methodologies to determine the cost of providing services including mobile internet or data. Resultantly, out of mobile data tariffs thresholds have reduced significantly over the past decade from US$0.18 per megabyte  (US$180 per gigabyte) in 2010 to the current US$0.0155 per megabyte (US$15.50 per gigabyte).”

Table 3 Out of Bundle Mobile Data Tariff Thresholds in USD (including all taxes)

Effective DatePrice per Megabyte in USDPrice per Gigabyte in USD
January 20100.18180
January 20130.15150
June 20180.06464
January 20190.0220
September 20200.015515.50
February 20210.015515.50

“It is not true that Zimbabwe has the highest data tariffs of US$75.20 as portrayed by howmuch.net and the cable.co.uk website in their flawed study results of 2019. The highest price for mobile data tariffs per gigabyte in Zimbabwe was equivalent to US$20 in 2019. This has since reduced to US$15.50 since September 2020 to date,” Dr Machengete said.

He also urge stakeholders to verify all information on Postal, Telecommunication and Courier Services with POTRAZ before “treating it as fact as some may be malicious and intended to induce panic.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button