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Mobile telecommunications firms are pushing for the banning of WhatsApp in Zimbabwe

The firms say WhatsApp, Skype and Viper have eroded their revenue streams. But the Government rejected the proposal to regulate the use of over the top services (OTTs) such as WhatsApp.

Zimbabwe’s mobile networks have in the past generated the bulk of their revenues from provision of calling and messaging services which cost around 24 cents per minute and eight cents per message respectively.But introduction of WhatsApp and others havecut revenue.

Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said operators approached his ministry seeking a ban. “Sometime last year, the telecommunication players approached the ministry concerned about the loss of revenue that networks were experiencing as a result of over the top services such as Skype, Whats App Calling, Viber and the like, they wanted Government to look at the possibility of either banning or stifling these operations to ensure that they would continue to be profitable,” Mandiwanzira said at the recently concluded E-Tech Africa symposium.

“We did mention that as a progressive Government, which promotes access to technology, we were averse to the idea of stifling these technologies or banning them.”

Minister Mandiwanzira said Government told the operators to look at the development as an opportunity to facilitate young Zimbabweans to develop applications suitable for local and global use than can rival those coming from abroad.


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