THE country’s four telecommunication players have increased tariff charges citing increasing input and maintenance costs.
Telecel, the country’s smallest cellular network operator, increased its service charges on Monday.
Subscribers are now paying between $37 400 and $41 500 per minute for local calls made during the peak period.
In addition, all subscribers are obliged to pay 22,5% value added tax on the tariffs.
During off-peak periods subscribers are paying between $31 000 and $35 000. The network’s subscribers were paying between $11 000 and $17 000 before the latest increases.
SMS have been set at $11 000 and $12 000 per message respectively for local and international messages.
Econet, the largest cellular network operator in terms of subscriber base, said this week cellphone users would pay between $31 000 and $38 600 per minute for local calls during the peak period and between $29 500 and $32 37 800 per minute during the off-peak period.
Econet subscribers had been paying between $13 000 and $18 000 per minute during the peak periods.
Subscribers would part with between $8 100 and $9 000 for every short message service (SMS) sent during the off-peak and peak periods respectively, from between $4 000 and $6 000, Econet announced.
Net*One, the government-owned cellular network operator currently scouting for a foreign partner, said its tariffs had also been raised with effect from today.
A local call made during peak periods on the Net*One platform would cost between $25 235 and $45 291 per minute.
Off-peak calls would see subscribers being charged between $21 450 and $38 497 per minute.
Previously, Net*One was charging between $16 000 and $22 000 per minute.
Charges for local, cross network and international SMSs have been set at $12 000, $15 000 and $13 500 per message respectively.
The charges for all the networks vary according to the type of product used.
The country’s sole fixed telephone company, Tel-One, will with effect from June 14 increase tariffs for local calls to $18 895,50 per unit, from $8 200.
For a local call, one unit is equivalent to three minutes during peak period and four minutes during off-peak periods.
Making a call to Econet subscribers would cost $11 039, 24 and $10 487,79 per minute during peak and off-peak periods respectively.
A call to Telecel subscribers would cost $13 18,26 and $12 557,93 respectively for peak and off-peak, while a call to Net*One would attract a charge of $11 739,98 and $11 152,17 for peak and off-peak respectively.
The four telecommunications players said the increases had been prompted by a highly-inflationary environment which was making it almost impossible to do business. The Consumer Coun-cil of Zimbabwe (CCZ) said while appreciating the need to maintain profitability in business, they called upon the four telecommunications players to be considerate of their customers’ plight.
“As much as the consumer watchdog appreciates the need for business to survive in this challenging environment, we also appeal to them to consider the plight of the consumer who is a valuable partner in the service provider’s business,” said the CCZ.