Several years ago before the adoption of smartphones exploded like the plague, carriers in the US used to make major bucks from text messaging plans and minutes while they gave data away in unlimited bundles for Blackberries to sip on, back when the demand for high-speed data was at a minimum.
US carriers noticed the change and gradually began focusing their revenue on data plans with unlimited calls and text messages. Unfortunately for other parts of the world that are starting to adopt smartphone use more and more as the network reliability improves, messaging services are able to easily replace outrageous calling and texting rates by simply using an app that transmits calls and messages via the internet.
Zimbabwe carriers are struggling with revenue since more and more users are flocking toward the cheaper alternatives of communicating via messaging apps along the likes of Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber. So in these desperate times of declining revenue, the carriers requested that the government regulates use of these apps in order for them to get the higher profits they once had.
Zimbabwe’s government said that “as a progressive government, which promotes access to technology, we were [opposed] to the idea of stifling these technologies or banning them.” Great economies are driven by innovation. So if these companies’ profits are suffering because of these apps, they need to either restructure their own plans, or sell a better product.
Rather than admitting defeat, Minister Mandiwanzira suggested to the operators that they should seek the opportunity to help young Zimbabweans to develop apps useful in local and international distribution to compete with other worldwide giants.