Harare targets free messaging services
Publish date: 13 February 2017
Issue Number: 714
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Zimbabwe’s mobile network operators are advocating a ban on Over The Top Services (OTTs) after it emerged they were losing significant revenues as subscribers increasingly abandon voice calls for cheaper alternatives. A report on the allAfrica site notes that operators have decried the loss of $26m in the wake of the advent of OTTs such as Immo, WhatsApp and Skype. This has denied government some $4m in potential tax revenue collection from the three operators – Econet, NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe. ‘All networks have approached my office to say we need to do something about this because the investment that we put in infrastructure is not going to be recouped because a lot of our revenue is now being lost,’ Information and Communication Technology Minister Supa Mandiwanzira is quoted in the report as saying. He said a total of 186m minutes, equivalent to $26m, were lost in the process as subscribers turned to OTTs. ‘There is evidence that the entire sector is bleeding as a result of OTTs,’ Mandiwanzira said, according to the report.