Econet bemoaned the uneven playing field in the mobile telecoms sector highlighting that it was the only company which was paid up for in full for the mobile licence. Econet Wireless claimed that they were the first and only company to comply with Potraz directive on floor prices.
Econet CEO Douglas Mboweni told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on ICTs chaired by Kuwadzana legislator Nelson Chamisa:
We had raised the issue of a level playing field and this is not the first time. It happened with the $137 million licence fees which Econet paid in full but others are yet to pay.
However, Telecel dismissed Econet’s assertion that they were the first MNO to comply with the Potraz directive. Telecel said it had actually complied with the directive in December 2016, more than two weeks earlier than Econet when they cut the data they offered by half.
Telecel’s CEO CEO Angeline Vere appearing before the committee said:
We were the first to comply and implemented it on December 20, only to discover that other operators had not done so,” the company’s CEO Angeline Vere said appearing before the committee.
Affordability is the only advantage we have. Our coverage is way low than Econet and Netone, that’s what we were trying to impress on them
Vere also stressed that Telecel had paid $4 towards the license and were negotiating terms.
Netone also accused Econet Wireless Zimbabwe of charging the prohibitive data costs in order to pay off external debt. It added that Econet’s operations were stretched and it was losing market share due to competition. NetOne CEO Brian Mutandiro He said that Netone had not implemented the POtraz because they realised that it would be detrimental to their business and opted to Negotiate with Potraz. Mutandiro also accused Econet Wireless Zimbabwe of being behind the whole process to have floor prices. Mutandiro told the committee
We were going to suffer because One Fusion had given us growth. To be honest, it was Econet which was driving the process, we played along but knew it was not good.
We feel their business model is under strain at the moment. Their market share is going down because of competition. They have huge international obligations.
The Zimbabwe business has been the one carrying it and we feel that they have stretched themselves to a point that they are now asking for too much from the business.
Potraz and Minister of ICT Supa Mandiwanzira were not available to make their presentations to the committe.
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