Business Development

Rising costs force Econet to review bundle prices

Econet Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s largest mobile network operator, Econet Wireless, has revised its voice, data and SMS bundle prices upwards, by an average 20 percent increment, amid value eroded due to currency devaluation and other rising costs of key network inputs.

The mobile operator incurred exchange losses of ZW$10,3 billion in the half-year to August 2020 as a result of exposure in foreign currency denominated obligations.

“The business continuously reviews its pricing in line with changes in the operating environment to ensure it remains viable, while retaining good quality of service and offering affordable products,” Econet said.

The listed telecommunications company earlier said it was transforming itself into a digital service provider, and remained “committed to innovative approaches to deliver these (digital) services and ensure our customers get the best quality voice, data and SMS-based products”.

Econet last adjusted its voice and data tariffs in September, but since that time, the price of many goods and services that constitute critical costs to the business, have skyrocketed, putting pressure on the company’s bottom line.

In particular, the price of electricity has doubled (gone up 100%) while diesel has gone up by 32% since September. Econet and other telecommunication companies rely on electricity and diesel-generated power to keep their network services up and running.

According to the latest schedule, Econet has reviewed its Bundle of Joy voice bundles from ZW$4,04 to ZW$4,25 per two minutes, while a 20 megabyte (MB) daily data bundle now costs ZW$17, up from ZW$13. A monthly 100MB data bundle has been reviewed upwards from ZW$67 to ZW$84, while the 8GB Private Wifi bundle has been adjusted from ZW$960 to ZW$1 500.

At the same time, subscribers are now be required to pay ZW$0.36 to send an SMS, up from ZW$0.32.

Although Econet service delivery has been affected by electricity load shedding like many Zimbabwean companies, stimming its revenue generation capacity, the group has however devised methods of continuing to provide quality services to its subscribers.

“We maintained quality of service despite the numerous challenges facing businesses in Zimbabwe. In particular, limited foreign currency and disruptions in power supply continue to put a significant strain on our ability to provide uninterrupted excellent service,” said the company Chairman James Myers in a statement accompanying Econet’s half-year results to August 2020.

“Our mitigation strategies, which include moving to remote monitoring and operation of our network, as well as reducing our reliance on power from the grid through DPA, were critical to our success,” he said, adding that the company expected at least an additional 18 MW of power to be availed by DPA (an Econet group Solar power company) by the end of the financial year.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende