Econet Wireless CEO Douglas Mboweni has shut down all hopes for data bundle transfer and roll over, TechnoMag has learnt.
Speaking to the ICT Portfolio Committee on Monday Mr Mboweni refused the possibility of Econet ever rolling over data stating that it is in conflict with commercial conditions and makes no business sense.
“When you come up with a bundle that says you consume for a week, we deliberately for commercial purposes decide to put that bundle at an attractive price, which we know that in terms of our own profitability might actually be a very small margin, but if we increase duration of that margin, then it begins to impinge on the profitability of that bundle,” he said.
“Different bundles have different conditions, other bundles have to be consumed in a certain period of time that they are purchased and if the user feels they need to use the product and extend it to someone else, then that is a different product,”
Addressing the issue of data transfer, Mboweni said there was need to go back to the drawing board and define new set of rules on data transfers, because what may be convenient to the customer may not be viable to the operator.
“If someone passes a 5day bundle to someone, does the 5 days apply or do the 5 days start ticking when the person receives the bundle, these are commercial issues which as an organization we have to think about,” he said.
Network operators have been under intense scrutiny in recent months for allegedly ripping off consumers, especially when it comes to data expiry dates and out-of-bundle billing.
Promotions available on Econet, NetOne and Telecel allow users to consume data, however upon its expiry, the unused data automatically vanish.
The regular notion is that expiring data bundles are simply there for telecommunications companies to be more profitable this arguments sound good, especially in a country like Zimbabwe where there is high unemployment and people struggle to afford Internet connectivity.
However, what is seldom mentioned is that the price for expiring data is significantly less than non-expiring data.
Breakage and expiring data allow mobile operators to design products which cost less than what they would have if the data did not expire.
To stop operators from offering data bundles which expire will limit consumer choice and result in higher data prices.
To call for the end of expiring data bundles will therefore not help consumers, but rather limit their choice and result in higher-priced data.
So, lifetime of data influences the price. It is clear that the longer data lasts, the higher the price is.