2,500% overnight mobile data price hike in Zimbabwe sparks social media outrage

Home » HEADLINES » 2,500% overnight mobile data price hike in Zimbabwe sparks social media outrage

By Zimbabwe Investor on January 11, 2017. No Comments

Zimbabweans took to social media to express their anger and shock at the up to 2,500% overnight price hike of mobile phone tariffs. This followed a directive from the regulator Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) which imposed a minimum price mobile network operators (MNOs) should charge their customers.

The MNOs responded by scrapping all promotional mobile data price plans they were running to immediately comply with the directive sending consumers needing as much US$100 for a paltry 5GB of data from one operator. This led to Zimbabweans taking to social media to vent their anger most suggesting the government’s motive was to stifle social media activity ahead of the elections in 2018. In July 2016, the country was brought to a standstill by protests organised via social media platforms.

Harare lawyer Fadzayi Mahere who caught public attention at the height of social media campaign leading up the the July protests led the Twitter outrage.

The telecommunications minister Supa Mandiwanzira added to the anger when he used Twitter to respond announcing that he would look into the matter when he returns from his holiday abroad after the 30 January 2017.


The minister’s tweet was received by a flurry of angry responses from users.

 

Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science & Technology Development Jonathan Moyo who has been promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in schools didn’t seem impressed either.


Low priced data bundles offered for social media access by operators have allowed Zimbabweans to join in the global online conversations as well as communicate with their relatives who are based abroad. As the economy continued on its downward spiral which has forced the bulk of the population into informal trading, availability of affordable mobile data plans has been crucial in the informal sector operations.