Just imagine 500MB of data for only 40 cents!


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Yes, you can get 500 megabytes of data, a day, for only 40 United States cents, in Tanzania. Competition among mobile phone operators in Tanzania is so intense that Zimbabweans and South Africans would be drooling if they could get such tariffs in their countries.

 In Zimbabwe 10MB normally costs a dollar while the same goes for R10 in South Africa. 

Spending a dollar a day for data is almost unthinkable in Tanzania unless you are a heavy downloader of videos.

 If you are not going for data packages, for 50 cents you get 25 minutes talk time to any network, 1 000 sms and 150MB of data.

In Zimbabwe 150MB alone costs nearly $20.  For $20 in Tanzania, you get 700 minutes of talk time, 10 000 sms and 1.5GB of data and this is valid for a whole month.

Of course the tariffs in Tanzania are in Tanzania shillings with US$1 dollar at about 1 660 shillings. But then for comparisons, a trip by dala dala or kombi is 400 shillings or roughly 25 cents.

 The cost of calls, if you don’t buy packages, however, is almost at par with Zimbabwe at about 10 cents a call. But Zimbabwe does not offer lucrative packages despite the fact that mobile phone penetration is already 106.4 percent.

Just like Zimbabweans are in denial about using their own currency, they are not taking mobile phone operators to task over poor service.

The media is too timid to tackle them either because they are the biggest advertisers.

Though everyone from the International Monetary Fund to the business sector says the US dollar is overvalued in Zimbabwe, it is unlikely that tariffs will fall.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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