Zimbabwe Rolls Back New "Higher Price" Rules for Mobile Voice and Data

Raising minimum prices can sometimes appear a logical policy to protect a domestic industry of any type. POTRAZ, the Zimbabwe telecom regulator was set to establish new minimum prices for all voice and data services provided by Zimbabwe’s mobile network operators in January 2017, and now has reversed that decision.

Minimum prices, viewed as a way of protecting telcos from competition and protecting mobile operator revenues,, would have created a minimum  12 cents per minute rate for voice services and two cents per MB for data usage.

Such policies likely are ineffective long term. Many regulators have banned use of VoIP, for example, but that does not seem to have worked, longer term, in any market where it has been attempted.

So far, it arguably has not been possible to “protect” incumbent communications service providers from the effects of the internet by using such protectionist measures. It might be argued that such measures allow incumbents more time to adjust business models, however.

Such “keep prices high” measures also conflict with other goals, such as allowing consumers to use more communications apps and services by lowering the price of such usage.
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