(Ecofin Agency) - In 2021, the Zimbabwean telecom market was hit by steady price rises. Subscribers who can still afford mobile services are now facing network availability issues.
In Zimbabwe, there is a serious deterioration in the quality of telecom services, according to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ). According to Vengesai Magadzire (photo), Head of Industry and Consumer Affairs, the deterioration is caused by the energy crisis that is reflected in the multiple untimely power outages in the country.
Speaking on the issue last Saturday, the official explained that the energy challenges hurt telecom operators but also subscribers who have developed new work habits, which now depend on telecom networks, since Covid-19.
"As Potraz, we are very much aware of the challenges that the country is facing inasmuch as we want to ensure that there is quality service provision. However, we are experiencing structural challenges such as the power crisis that the country is experiencing. It becomes very difficult for network service providers to run on generators around the clock, even for a week.[…] Consumers can buy services, but fail to access them due to the power crisis," he explained.
Since late November 2022, Zimbabweans have been experiencing longer power outages than can last up to 20 hours a day. The government blames vandalism of the power grid but many local experts, including associations such as Citizens coalition for change (CCC), point to a lack of investment and energy vision.
For Vengesai Magadzire, POTRAZ, consumers and telecom operators are currently working together to find a solution to the crisis affecting service quality and harming 290,810 fixed telecom subscribers and 14,562,242 mobile telecom subscribers.