TCRA’s directive to mobile operators

Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has directed mobile service providers to adhere to the law when reviewing their tariffs following a recent change of bundles that concerned the public.

The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority
 Director General, Prof John Nkoma, addresses the media
in Dar es Salaam 
The regulator also asked the operators to file the tariffs with it before they become effective but all the directives seems to be for future use as it did not clearly state any irregularity.

When The Citizen called TCRA to clarify whether the directives mean that the mobile operators had broken the law or should revert to the old tariffs, the agency’s spokesperson Mr Innocent Mungy said the recently changed tariffs were under promotion and that the operators did not violate any regulation.

“It’s like going to a shop and you find the clothes are being sold on offer. When you come again tomorrow and you experience that prices of the same clothes have gone up, you cannot claim that old price because it is an offer, not your right,” said Mr Mungy.

According to TCRA’s directives, however, the operators are required to ensure that any changes are gradual and not abrupt to avoid shocks in the market. The directives were contained in a statement published in The Citizen.

Vodacom also clarified that they had not broken any law when adjusting the tariffs. The company’s managing director, Mr Rene Meza, told The Citizen that the changes were communicated to TCRA and also in public notices.

“It’s also important to note that TCRA does not set prices for the operators as these are always market driven,” said Mr Meza.

The mobile service providers recently changed the prices of voice and SMS and a huge decrease in data or megabytes (MBs).

Vodacom and Tigo changed all their daily bundles which offered up to 100MB to strictly 8MB while airtel also capped its daily Voice, SMS and internet bundles at 10MB.

Vodacom and Tigo said publicly last week that they changed their tariffs to satisfy current business environment.Vodacom unveiled Sh150 billion investment plan in 2015 while Tigo on the other hand announced $120 million investment in expansion plan.

“We cannot continue to finance such huge investment given the current environment. Tanzania has the highest taxation levels in the East African region with the lowest tariffs. We adjust our tariffs to move on and contribute to the growth of the country,” said Ms Cecile Tiano, Tigo’s interim general manager.
Going by the figures from the Communications Regulatory Authority, there were 30.58 million Sim cards as at September 2014.

Vodacom was leading the pack with some 11.316 million Sim cards and Airtel came second with 9.546 million. Tigo and Zantel came third and fourth respectively with 7.643 million and 1.782 million subscribers respectively.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Alawi Masare, from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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