Posts filed under ‘Zimbabwe’
Zimbabwean GSM operator Econet Wireless is aiming to increase its network capacity beyond its previously announced target of 1.2 million subscriber lines by the end of this year, reports IT News Africa. Econet’s corporate communications manager, Rangarirai Mberi, said that the company is working closely with its technical partners including Ericsson and ZTE to complete the current phase of expansion, whilst ‘work is already under way for further expansion to drive capacity beyond this level.’
As part of a delayed budget announcement, Zimbabwe’s acting Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa has included a cut in Value Added Tax (VAT) on mobile phone airtime, reports AllAfrica.com. ‘I propose to standardise the rate by reducing it to 15% [from 22.5%] with effect from 1 February 2009, in line with the prevailing general level of VAT on other products,’ he said last week. Since the country’s three mobile operators – Econet, NetOne and Telecel – were given the nod by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to bill their services in foreign currency, call tariffs have increased to as much as USD0.33 per minute, which the operators blamed on excessive VAT rates.
Zimbabwe’s mobile market leader Econet Wireless has resumed offering its post-paid services, which were suspended last November because of a shortage of foreign currency and lack of funding to pay for a new billing system. The move was made possible by the recent government initiative to allow operators to bill their users in foreign currency. A company statement said: ‘Econet is restoring contract services. The recent authorisation granted to the industry to bill in foreign currency allows us to re-engage our suppliers of billing systems.’ On related issues of affordability, the operator added, ‘The concerns raised by our customers on the cost of services are absolutely valid, we share these concerns and we will continue to engage relevant authorities with a view to lessening the impact of VAT on call charges.’ The statement said that VAT, pegged at 22.5%, is the highest in the region, and that government officials are currently in consultations to look at the possibility of reducing the tax.