Many consumers are miffed by the latest 200% Econet Wireless tariff hikes on data and voice calls saying the new development would make it difficult for them to communicate be it either for business or socially.
The outcry follows new Econet tariffs that become effective Monday, October 28. Local voice calls have now been pegged at ZWL$0.0139/ second or 84cents per minute, with texts going for 24cents/SMS and data 24cents/MB which translates nearly to $5 for the popular 20MB social media bundles for the day.
Several Econet service users in Harare central business district expressed dismay at the increase.
“We are going back to beeping each other now, I would rather buy a loaf of bread than recharging my phone.” a vendor, Everson Tapfuma said.
The new round of increases have further plunged citizens into dilemma as most have their salaries remaining stagnant, despite the skyrocketing costs of basic commodities and other services.
“Calling relatives or WhatsApp has been the only thing that had kept us together, however, the new charges will make it more difficult for us” a tailor Patience Mandigora said, “We are not happy about the increases, we like Econet by this is becoming too much, recently they did the same thing and now they have repeated.”
One citizen, Tapera Mudzamiri, highlighted that the only respite might be switching service providers to look for those who can give value for money.
However, in as much as most citizens are disappointed, they are some who have reacted differently to the development done by Econet.
“We are not surprised by the development, we are getting used to the hardships and we are adjusting, there is nothing we can do, but only to resort to the current situation and live accordingly,” Lucie Mubvakure said.
The latest tariff hike is the fifth inside the last three months. Many retailers and service providers have been hiking prices as the Zimdollar continues to lose value against the greenback. The interbank rate is now at 1US$/16Zimdollars, while on the parallel market its hovering around 20 to the dollar.
By Caroline Nyamayaro