Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International has asked the Zambian government to urgently prioritise accessibility of mobile phone services. The call follows a report released last week by the organisation which details the results of a survey according to which 57% of local households feel mobile phone services are too costly.
Moreover 54% of respondents to the survey indicated that the price of mobile phone services had increased in the last six months, according to CUTS International Centre Co-ordinator Chenai Mukumba.
The government has previously warned MTN Zambia, Airtel Zambia and Zamtel to reduce the price of their mobile phone services and improve on quality or risk having to compete with fourth mobile phone operator.
Special Assistant to the President for Project Implementation and Monitoring Lucky Mulusa said, “the government is still in talks with all the operators to see how they can bring down the cost of communication.”
Mobile phone operators blame the rates on the high cost of doing business in the Southern African country, the weakening economy and load-shedding.
Airtel Zambia managing director Peter Correia said the telecommunication sector is the highest taxed business in the country. “But we are working with the government and other stakeholders to ensure that mobile services are provided to the public at affordable rates,” he said.
Zamtel CEO Mupanga Mwanakatwe argued that, “We have a tariff plan that allows customers to call the whole day for just ZMK3. This has made Zamtel the cheapest network in the country.”
Local lawmakers have urged the government to provide tax relief to mobile phone operators to help reduce communication costs.
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