Please allow me space in your publication to gather the views of your audience on a matter that needs to be addressed.
We recently saw a dramatic reduction in the price of the three mobile operators, Airtel, MTN, and ZAMTEL. While this is a welcome move, the bigger issue here is how can the cost of a product go from k405 to K100 overnight? What sort of ridiculous profits were being made before and what has promoted this action?
MTN are boasting of an 82% reduction and Airtel up to 75%, I won’t even talk about ZAMTEL. Simple logic tells us that with the price slashing, these three businesses should retrench workers, cut back on their fancy cars and hefty salaries (we all know that those directors make millions annually), etc. Why? Because they are now surely selling data at a cost they cannot afford. Unless of course it has been overpriced for years and they have been exploiting us – in which case the relevant regulatory authorities owe us all an explanation, or accountability’s sake.
If they were not exploiting us (very unlikely), could there be another reason for this dramatic reduction?
For years Zambia’s telecoms sector has been an oligopoly, until Vodafone entered the market and threatened to steal market share from all three operators – after all, they came in with marginally lower price points than all three.
Is it possible, editor, that the three operators – who all have significant financial muscle compared to a start-up that has been around for under a year – have deliberately initiated this price war to drive Vodafone out of business? Especially because they might be having voice services soon.
If the above is true editor, the relevant authorities must investigate this thoroughly and publish the results for the public to judge. We need as much competition in this sector if innovation and truly lower prices are to be realised, not just for data bundles but for voice services too.