Zimbabwe Data Costs Among Cheapest, Potraz Tells Parliament

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Post and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, director general Gift Machengeta told parliament last Monday that the cost of data in Zimbabwe is amongst the lowest in the region.

This is the second time he has said this. The first being last year after a video circulating on social media implied that Zimbabwe had the most expensive data tariffs in the world.

This forced Potraz to issue a statement to counter the narrative.

Machengeta appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Information Communication Technology (ICT) to give oral evidence on issues of connectivity in Zimbabwe.

Potraz is the sole regulatory authority that issues licences to telecommunications providers and regulates internet service providers in Zimbabwe.

The utterances by Potraz director come after a local fact checking organisation ZimFact published a report in November 2023 that suggests that data tariffs in Zimbabwe are no way among the cheapest.

A year before this civil society organizations in Zimbabwe ran a #DataMustFall campaign in a bid to force regulators and internet service providers to reduce the cost of data that was widening the digital divide.

Speaking before the Parliamentary Committee on ICT Machengeta insisted that low levels of income has created the illusion that data costs are exorbitant locally.

“The issue we have been having which (sic) gives now the impression that our tariffs are expensive has been our disposable income which is low.

” As your disposable income is low, anything becomes expensive,” he said.

Machengeta added that the other problem was that a lot of people were subscribing for unlimited bundles which they would not be able to use up within the time limit provided.

He advised users to buy data that they can use up in a month as opposed to unlimited data which will go back to the operator.