THE government is considering imposing hefty penalty to telecom companies, which are hiking voice and data tariffs in the country.
That was said here yesterday by Deputy Minister for Transport and Communication Eng. Atashasta Nditiye, while directing Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to take stern measures against any telecom firm(s) that would be convicted in the crime, including compelling them to refund the affected people.
Eng. Nditiye while meeting with his Zanzibar counterpart Dr Sira Ubwa Mamboya at TCRA office here, said that some telecom firms had been illegally hiking phone call charges contrary to the approved rates approved by the regulator.
He said the government would pin them down, adding: “This is in attempt to further lower charges and increase mobile telephony penetration in the country.” Dr Mamboya had visited Mainland Tanzania to learn and share experience in their communication sector, one of the key sectors under the Union matters.
Dr Mamboya said that he also visited the premises to familiarize himself with the communication sector’s development and operations and borrow a leaf to Zanzibar.
Expressing satisfaction at their work, he took time to also visit Tanzania Postal Corporation (TPC), saying the two State-run firms were operating professionally and lauded the latter for going a further step to pay dividend to the government.
The government lowered call tariffs from one network to another to 10/40 from 15/60 per minute from January this year, however, the minister said: “Some firms have gone ahead advertising 1/- per second ... this is approximately 60/- per minute and its five times the actual approved rate.”
According to the minister the government plans to further lower the tariffs to 2/- by 2022 and warned that any telecom operator(s) must abide by the approved State rate.
“TCRA must make some follow up with all telecom companies, because some are working against the State directives and take disciplinary actions.
Mobile network subscription reached a record of 43.62 million in 2018, up from 40.08 million in 2017, according to Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA).
Consequently, Tanzania’s internet penetration increased from 40 per cent to 43 per cent during the period under review.
In a related development, the Deputy Minister lauded the communication regulator for improving communication sector and subsequently contributing a lot in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister seized the opportunity to call upon the general public to ensure that they register their mobile SIM card with fingerprints, in an attempt to secure their information.