Zim to lower mobile data costs

ZIMBABWE’S telecoms regulator says it plans to cut mobile data costs by year end, to make access to the internet more affordable, an official has said.

Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ) chairman Ozias Bvute on Wednesday told a seminar on innovation that it was engaging internet service providers to make mobile data affordable.

Zimbabwe’s data tariffs are among the highest in the region, with a gigabyte of data averaging US$30 compared to US$5 in neighbouring South Africa.

“We’re in the process of directing our operators with regards to a floor price, the basic minimum price that we feel data should cost,” said Bvute. “We’re confident that within a month or two we should be in a place where data is affordable and used responsibly.”

Supa Mandiwanzira, the Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services, who was also present at the seminar, said the government would soon launch an innovation fund that will provide grants to young innovators in the country.

Mandiwanzira said the government should push local organisations to support and promote local innovations.

“Through the new ICT policy which was recently approved by Cabinet, 30 percent of software that is used by companies should be locally produced. We have to deliberately create the market,” said Mandiwanzira. – The Source