The Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has announced plans to monitor telecommunications traffic for revenue assurance purposes, suggesting that the existing system, whereby operators declare their revenues, may no longer be adequate.
Until now, authorities have relied on voluntary declarations from the three mobile firms – NetOne, Telecel, and Econet – and the fixed phone operator Telecel, along with a number of ISPs.
Officials are apparently now monitoring telecommunications traffic volumes and other trends to ensure that operators do not under-declare revenue and consequently benefit from inaccurate tax returns.
There’s another angle to this initiative, which ITWeb Africa, quoting Gift Machengete, Director General for Potraz, describes as “combating telecommunications or fraud-perpetrated traffic refilling and the use of grey routes or illegal gateways in the conveyancing of international traffic”.
The POTRAZ traffic monitoring and revenue assurance system aims to combat network fraud, enforce billing integrity and revenue assurance, and deal with disputes on national interconnections. Importantly, it cannot monitor content.
As for the effect of fraud on the major players in the market, given Zimbabwe’s economic issues it may come as no surprise that there is a growing black market for data packages whose prices undercut those of Econet, NetOne and Telecel. It’s possible, therefore that operators could welcome this initiative.