THE Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) intends to take measures against telecom firms that reviewed promotion data tariffs without its express permission.
The law, section 5(2) and 12(2) of the 2011 Electronic and Postal Communications (Tariffs Regulations), directs telecoms to file their new tariffs plans prior to being used.
However, Vodacom, Tigo and Airtel, unilaterally changed their daily, weekly and monthly voice, SMS and internet bundles reducing substantially data package amounts and prices.
TCRA Communications Manager Innocent Mungy said in Dar es Salaam that although the tariffs adjusted were of promotional nature the providers were supposed to notify the regulator before putting them into effect.
“TCRA is not regulating promotion tariffs but the law directs them to notify us prior of use,” Mr Mungy pointed out, noting that the telecom firms have for long enticed customers to use internet data thus going into a promotion binge.
“The trend shows that providers have reduced heavily on internet and want subscribers to start buying normal internet bundles,” he said.
According to the TCRA statement, the authority shall impose penalties as shall be (deemed) necessary, directing service providers “to adhere to the law when reviewing their tariffs.” The authority also directed telecom firms to ensure that any changes are “gradual and not abrupt to avoid shocks in the markets”.
The regulator’s intervention into the matter has come following the subscribers’ outcry after the three providers heavily slashed bundle amounts despite the service being optional among users.
Promotional prices show that telecom service providers have increased the number of minutes for voice and SMS amount but reduced internet bundles considerably.
The most affected area was on internet bundles where the lowest daily tariffs went down to between 8.0 and 10 megabytes from between 15 and 250mbs.
Weekly megabytes plummeted to between 60 and 70mb from between 100 and 2000 while monthly to between 250 and 300mb from between 300 and 4000mb while monthly down to between 300 and 4000mb to between 250 and 300mb.
However, TCRA directs service providers to give their customers choice of separate bundle plans.
For the voice, SMS and internet services, a consumer should be given the liberty of how much to spend for a given price and period of time.