THE reduction of interconnection rates between phone services providers made subscribers believe that telecommunication will become cheaper with effect from Friday, last week.
The charges were reduced from 115/- to 34/92, which by any standards is a significant reduction. However, most subscribers are now complaining to have felt very little impact after the widely hyped reduction.Several telecom firms are now claiming that the impact could not be felt at present because they are still required to pay many taxes to local and central government authorities and continue investing heavily in the infrastructure.
The contention by telecom services providers is, however, highly debatable because they have been giving the same excuse for several years.On its part, the government has consistently strived to provide fiscal support to investors in the telecommunications industry as well as providing the necessary infrastructure for their operations.
The government's investment includes the National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) project that was embarked on in 2008. The project is estimated to cost over 251bn/- on its completion.It (the backbone) has the capacity to carry on all information and link ups with international submarine cables that connect the country to the rest of the globe.
According to official records, the project is funded by a $170 million soft loan from China and 30bn/- from government sources.Several telecom firms, including Vodacom, have already connected to the NICTBB and started reaping the benefits of high speed, efficiency and clarity provided by the facility.It is hoped that the benefits will now trickle down to millions of subscribers using mobile phones for texting SMS, making voice calls and data services, including internet.
There is evidence that telecom firms are making good money and are capable of operating at fair and reasonable tariffs as opposed to targeting super profits.