Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s government has suspended new internet data packages issued on Friday by telecommunication firms, saying they are expensive and need to be revised.
The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) issued a statement late on Friday, stating that it made the decision following complaints from consumers that the cost of data, in particular, had risen following the release by telcos earlier in the day of new rates for bundles for voice calls, data and short messaging services.
“TCRA is temporarily suspending the new data bundles so as to give room for service providers to conduct a detailed analysis that should culminate into new tariffs that effectively put into consideration the interests of consumers,” the statement reads in part.
On Friday morning, telecommunication firms had revised their bundles for voice calls, data and short messaging service as they sought to align them with new regulations set recently by the regulator TCRA.
TCRA’s new regulations require telecoms to allow Tanzanians freely share already purchased
data bundles, to be able to extend the expiry date of their airtime or data packages by buying additional data or airtime, and get notified once their packages hit the 75% mark.
TCRA’s new regulations also require that Telco’s seek approval before offering new bundles.
The Telco’s responded by revising their rates, and increasing the cost of data bundles in particular.
“The government has directed telcos to suspend the new prices for data bundles for a while as the issue is being sorted out,” the head of corporate communications at TCRA, Semu Mwakyanjala, told The Citizen of Tanzania.
Mwakyanjala told The Citizen the regulator was largely unconvinced with telcos decision to raise charges of data bundles.
Mamlaka ya Mawasiliano Tanzania-TCRA imesitisha Matumizi ya Bei Mpya ya Vifurushi vya Data ili kutoa Nafasi Kwa Watoa Huduma Kupanga Upya Bei za Vifurushi kwa Ufanisi kwa ajili ya kulinda Maslahi ya Watumiaji pic.twitter.com/R1E00wlCBu
— Haki Ngowi (@Hakingowi) April 3, 2021
“The prices for both voice calls and short messaging service have gone down, which is good, but for data the prices unexpectedly went up. The prices for voice and SMS will continue as they are but those of data have been suspended immediately,” he told The Citizen.
The Citizen reported that the complaints by consumers that followed were based on high package costs, frequent changes in data packages, customers receiving promotional messages without their consent and users losing bundles on expiration even if it (the bundle) had not been utilized.