Unlike what most reports have been touting lately on Zimbabwe mobile data bundles being the most expensive in the world, we can confirm in light of a research conducted, that in actual fact Zimbabwe enjoys the best data prices in Africa.
The data rates which were packed by Potraz last year when they engaged the German company, Detecon to account for the emerging market trends and changing of consumer behaviour moving from voice to data, reveal that Zimbabwe charges had been reduced to 5 cents per megabyte from 12,5 cents, while the national interconnection rate went down from 4 cents per minute to 2 cents, is another indication that local broadband is affordable.
For the purposes of the research we used three African countries particularly, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya in order to make a comparison on the different costs pegged on mobile data.
The findings revealed that MTN South Africa’s 24 hour 1GB data bundle costs R50 which is equivalent to $11.48Rtgs dollars. Kenya’s leading telecoms in terms of subscriber base Safaricom has pegged its 1GB for $3.23Rtgs dollars. For Glo in Nigeria 1GB data costs N500 which is equivalent to $4.55 of our local currency.
Taking into cognisance the recent Monetary Policy and how it has devalued and floated the local currency from the initial 1:1 rate between the US dollar and the RTGS dollars to the current USD1 to 2.5 RTGS dollars, this means that the local data bundle pricing being purchased at $1 RTGS dollars is less than USD1 by fairly a great margin as compared to other countries in Africa.
In US$ our data charges per 1GB across all networks for Econet, NetOne and Telecel subscribers is priced at $2.
However the major set back is the time frame of the bundles which only lasts for a limited 24hrs, Potraz could have done better in making sure that data that is not used must be clearly tagged otherwise it must not just disappear, preferably be carried over to the next recharge.
Such a good move can set a first Market approach for which ever mobile network to introduce such a package, as a favourable option
The data pricing comparison therefore shows that Zimbabwean operators are giving their consumers fairly a decent deal for access to the internet.