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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Telecoms sector set on balancing operators’ viability and service affordability

Story by Stanley James, Business Editor

GOVERNMENT, consumers and stakeholders in the telecommunications industry have come up with a roadmap aimed at balancing viability and affordable tariffs.

Stakeholders in the telecommunications sector this Thursday held a meeting to discuss challenges and concerns affecting the industry.

Econet deputy chief executive officer, Mr. Roy Chimanikire spoke on the importance of ensuring quality services to consumers.

“As an operator, we support the need to strike a balance between viability and service provision because it is the hallmark in terms of enhancing viability while focusing on positive results that have a bearing on overall growth. We shall continue to further focus on strategies that sustain the growth of the industry, we are committed to continuous dialogue,” he said.

The key issue was, however, tariff adjustments and affordable rates, as noted by POTRAZ director general, Dr Gift Machengete, “While consumers rightfully seek affordability and accessibility, it is essential to recognize that maintaining an ICT infrastructure of high quality and reliability requires adequate investment and sustainable revenue streams, while the need to increase tariffs may seem counter-productive in a world where affordability is paramount, it is crucial to strike a delicate balance between ensuring access to essential services and safeguarding the long-term viability of the sector. Therefore, any tariff adjustments must be approached thoughtfully considering the needs and realities of both consumers and stakeholders.”

Government also reaffirmed commitment to the growth of the telecommunications sector.

“This workshop is therefore meant to facilitate constructive dialogue among all stakeholders including ICT operators, consumers, policymakers, and industry experts to explore sustainable solutions that will ensure the elusive balance between service affordability and operator viability is achieved. Solving this problem, I believe begins with transparency around obtaining tariff structures which is something we have demanded from operators, therefore we need to come up with workable strategies that serve the needs of the economy and finding long terms solutions,” said the Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services, Dr Tatenda Mavetera.

A report presented at the indaba shows that the telecommunications industry is a key element for societies, with a reliable network at affordable costs described as another pillar for economic growth.

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