“The honeymoon is over” Chamisa tells mobile operators

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar
Nelson Chamisa

Nelson Chamisa

“The honeymoon is over for the mobile operators!”

These were the words of the Minister of ICT in Zimbabwe, Nelson Chamisa, at a function held alongside this year’s ICT Africa in Harare yesterday. Chamisa decried the current poor state of the mobile phone network services in Zimbabwe promising to rectify the situation. He said that while the mobile penetration has grown to almost 90%, the cost of mobile communications to subscribers is still too high and the quality of calls inversely poor.

Without specifying how the government would resolve the issue the minister stated emphatically “it’s time to read the riot act on our mobile operators”. Chamisa said that as government they had given the mobile network operators enough time to fix the problems with their networks since the dollarization of the economy, but that until now the rate of dropped calls remains very high.

The ICT Minister also said in his address that his ministry is currently working with the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) to ensure the tariffs of both voice calls and data are revised downwards to afford Zimbabweans access to the critical resources at reasonable rates.

Zimbabwe has 3 GSM mobile network telcos currently in operation, namely Econet, Telecel and NetOne. Econet, the largest of the 3 by both network coverage and number of subscribers, announced recently that it now has about 7.1 million connected users. Telecel, the second largest by number of subscribers, also announced yesterday that as at the end of August, the company had reached 2.2 million active subscribers. NetOne, a state owned mobile operator, and smallest of the 3, announced in August that it had reached about 1.8 million subscribers.

The average rate of a mobile call from one network to another locally is US 25 cents per minute. Calls within the network are priced at 23 cents per minute. As required by law, billing on all mobile networks is per-second based. 3G mobile broadband services (and Edge, and GPRS) provided by Econet are generally priced at 15 cents per megabyte of data used. Telecel and NetOne charge 11 cents and 7 cents per megabyte (out of bundle) respectively.


  1. Liberty Dandira

    Which honeymoon is over..Muchanyeperana, these guys(government) have to loosen up a lot of things so that we callers dont suffer. The impractical regulations are too much for any good quality of service from these operators. The honeymoon will be prolonged as long as daily imposing of laws is in place. Just like how we ended up with the US Dollar, the operating environment should be flexed as much as possible.

    1. Garikai Dzoma

      You are right. POTRAZ is standing in the way of VOIP and you literally have to go through hoops to set up public WiFi all because it supposedly interferes with two way radio?!

      1. KuraiMGT

        They are even staying in the way of the declining BB service. It is the consumers who should be telling the minister that his honeymoon is over.

  2. Blaz James

    They must just allow other serious players like MTN to come into market. Competition will be good and will bring prices down. I know we need to be patrotic and support local but I think patriotism is sometimes taken too far. They are a lot of mobile operators who love to come into the market and give Econet a lesson or two.

  3. Robert Dondo

    Did the good minister say how or when he is going to end the honeymoon?

    1. yakuza

      most likely by increasing operator licence fees, which will deter other players,…and entrench existing players…and back to honeymoon phase.

  4. time

    “Mobile operators” includes Powertel..hint hint…

  5. Sir Nigel

    About time Mr Minister

  6. Blaz James

    Exactly what we need. As you can see, there is a lot of competition in South Africa while we are building monopolies in Zim.

  7. Joe Black

    These are simple things. Sell that useless Net*One thing to Telkom or Vodacom or whomever else is willing to bid for it. Then you’ll see real service to consumers.

    Till then, you’re just screaming into the whirlwind.

  8. VAT

    First of all Chamisa is not in charge of mobile networks, Goche is. Chamisa has no ay whatsoever.

    Secondly, it is foolish, is anything, unrealistic, for him to suggest lowering the price of calls in Zimbabwe. The government would be cutting its legs off.

    Econet is the biggest taxpayer in Zimbabwe, and if Chamisa & Co reduce the price of calls, the government will lose a lot of revenue, which would have to be made up elsewhere…like increasing your personal income tax, or other taxes, for example.

    In the end you will be worse off. Better to have higher call charges than higher taxes. At least you have the option to call or not.

    Call prices will not be reduced any time soon. What the minister can only suggest is boosting the market share or business of cheaper VOIP options.

  9. vsat tichi

    “Zimbabwe has 3 GSM mobile network telcos currently in operation, namely Econet, Telecel and NetOne” ?

  10. Teflon

    …..and 6 months down the line, we’re still waiting for the honeymoon to end. typical politicians.

    Econet 1GB = $90

    CellC (South Africa) 10GB = R199 (+-$20)

    MTN (South Africa) 500MB = R49 (+-$6)

    Vodacom (S(South Africa) 2GB = R149 (+-$17)

    1. Teflon
  11. Advice for the ICT Minister, Nelson Chamisa, from some Zimbabweans – Techzim

    […] a week ago, after Zimbabwe’s ICT Minister Nelson Chamisa declared it was time to read the riot act on the country’s mobile operators for poor service delivery, we decided to crowd source some advice for the minister through our […]