Mobile service providers - Mobile phone subscribers should expect minimal relief when calling another network, following reduction of interconnection rates between mobile service providers from 115/- to 34.92, it has been learned.
Apart from the interconnection rates, subscribers are still required to pay government taxes such as Value Added Tax (VAT), excise duty as well as calling charges of the respective mobile phone operator.
Since the new rates came into effect on March 1, this year, some mobile subscribers have complained that the reduction has not been reflected into reduced calling charges when one is calling a different network.
However, the Acting Executive Secretary of the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority's Consumer Consultative Council (TCRA-CCC), Ms Mary Shao Msuya, said the council had not received any complaint from customers.
"Besides, subscribers should understand that apart from the interconnection charges, they are also supposed to pay other charges. "It is also too early to say the rates will not benefit consumers since there hasn't been any study to assess the new rates," she said in a telephone interview.
Her views were supported by Vodacom Tanzania's Head of Marketing and Communication, Mr Kelvin Twisa, who said the reduced rates would basically help new entrants in the telephony industry. "Customers will benefit in long term but as per now it is new and operators who have not invested heavily in infrastructure that would benefit," he explained.
Mr Twisa, who has worked in executive positions in three major mobile operators in the country, noted also that price wars in the industry have led to reduced calling charges which are very low compared to other countries in the region. Last month, the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) announced new rates after reviewing telecommunications charges in the country.
The rate will come down to 32.40 in 2014 and drop further to 30/58 by 2015 and further to 28/57 in 2016. Efforts to get comment from the TCRA's Manager for Communication and Public Relations, Mr Innocent Mungy, were not successful yesterday.
By Alvar Mwakyusa
Tanzania Daily News/05/03/2013