Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Courier Services, Kazembe Kazembe has explained why there are high data charges in Zimbabwe during the Zimbabwe-India ICT Conference in Harare today.
At $25 per gigabyte (GB), Zimbabwe was rated as the second most expensive mobile data in Sub-Saharan Africa, with Equatorial Guinea taking the lead at $35 per GB.
“Zimbabwe’s geography remains a significant barrier to high-speed internet; low-cost internet, Kazembe said.”As a landlocked country, we are dependent on neighbouring countries for access to the optic-fibre submarine cables that connect most of the world to the internet.”
“For Zimbabwe, we are connected to the East African Submarine Cable system (EASSY) and SEACOM in the Indian Ocean through Mozambique and South Africa. This, in turn, drives data up.”
The Minister went on to explain the impacts of high data charges amongst Zimbabweans.
“Data costs are high and consume a large percentage of the average monthly income of a Zimbabwean citizen with the price of 1 GB of mobile broadband being 18.8 per cent of the Gross National Income (GNI),” Kazembe said.
“Mobile broadband is also used as an alternative to fixed broadband but is also not cheap.”
Subsequently, only 1.1 per cent of households has a fixed internet service according to the Minister.
Representatives from India, who revealed the two nations have a high rural population, said they would like to work with Zimbabwe in the area of ICT.
The conference at HICC went on with the theme “Zimbabwe-India Bridging the Digital Divide”.