APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) A media watchdog on Friday criticised the collapsed state of Zimbabwe’s telecommunications sector following more than a week of erratic coverage by the country’s main service providers.
The sole fixed telephone network run by the state-owned TelOne is in an appalling state of affairs, with erratic coverage in the urban areas and is virtually non-existent in the rural areas.
Problems on the fixed telephone network have also negatively affected Internet traffic in Zimbabwe during the past three weeks.
The three mobile telephone networks – Econet Wireless, Telecel Zimbabwe and the state-owned Net One – have also failed to cope with the market demand for their services in Zimbabwe’s hyperinflationary environment.
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Econet Wireless published a statement on November 10 withdrawing its contract line services for clients under one of its payment schemes, a move which has deprived thousands of Zimbabweans of their right to communicate.
Together with other mobile service providers, Econet Wireless subsequently raised tariffs by 2,000 percent this week, with the average cost of a text message rising from approximately 1,000 Zimdollars (about US$2 at the official exchange rate) to at least 20,000 or US$40.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) said the collapse of the telecommunications industry was an impediment on the right of the people of Zimbabwe to communicate as well as their right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
“This right includes the ability and access to usage of tools of communication such as the Internet, fixed telephones and mobile telephone networks by ordinary people, as emphasised by the World Summit on Information Societies held in Tunis, Tunisia, in 2005,” MISA said.
Source: Cellular News.