Yesterday businessman and executive chairman of Econet Wireless Group, Strive Masiyiwa partially talked about the mobile data tariffs row. Masiyiwa seemed to be against the idea of floor prices for any kind of service. He went as far as calling the Potraz directive “unusual” as it made it difficult for businesses to introduce new services which rely on data. In his facebook post Masiyiwa said:
It is my understanding that it was a directive from the telecoms regulator. I have never supported this type of regulatory approach.
It makes it difficult to introduce new services such as Mobile TV, when a “floor price” is set for data. Very unusual.
However, a leaked document shows that Econet were not merely enforcing what the regulator wanted. In fact, Econet were advocating for much higher prices than those which were adopted by Potraz in the end. To make it worse, Econet were the only network to hike their data tariffs. The new tariffs are very prohibitive as Econet is charging up to 5 times the minimum value set by Potraz.
This means either of two things. On the one hand, maybe Strive Masiyiwa was being economical with the truth yesterday and has been exposed. On the other hand, the tycoon could have been telling the truth, meaning that his executives lied to him. Masiyiwa is famous for advocating delegation, and its quite possible that the people who were responsible did not tell their boss the whole truth. We cannot say which is which, but we hope that Econet will clarify the matter.