Utande, one of Zimbabwe’s Internet Service Providers recently announced that the prices for their internet packages will now be based in USD starting in April. This means that if you are their customer your prices will now be based on prices set in USD although of course you can still pay for the service in Zimbabwean dollars at the prevailing rate of that day. Most people wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised by this development though.

eDear Valued Customer,

We hope this letter finds you well. We consider your choosing Utande as your LTE services provider an honour, and thank you for your continued support.

However, the current operating environment continues to be in a state of constant flux. Among the major effects of doing business under such conditions is undoubtedly the rising cost in procuring equipment and service delivery, particularly for those with embedded USD components. We have always endeavoured to cushion our customers from the price shocks we face by absorbing what we can of these cost increases.

Despite our best attempts to mitigate these challenges, we write to advise that effective 1 April 2022, all LTE services will be billed in USD instead of ZWL This will ensure that we continue providing the quality service and support which have now become the hallmarks of our brand.

Should you have any queries or require further clarification, kindly email [email protected]

Yours Sincerely

Never Ncube

Chief Executive Officer

The email sent to customers by Utande

They got tired of pretending I guess

As I have already said most of Utande’s customers will probably just shrug and move on. This is because a lot of businesses and probably Utande too, secretly just set USD prices which they then convert to ZWL prices for the public. They mainly do this to please the government which likes to pretend that de-dollarisation is working and all is well in Zimbabwe when the reality is otherwise.

Putting up such a front can be very tedious administration wise though. You have to constantly update your ZWL prices so they keep up with both inflation and black market exchange rates. Supermarkets are acutely aware of this problem. Every other week their attendants are running around removing old price stickers and putting new ones. It is not so onerous for Utande but no less distracting which is why they are probably giving up this popular charade.

Another with the charade is that you have you also have to pretend to be using the official rate to do your conversions between USD and ZWL prices. This means that if you are pretending that your prices are based in ZWL you will end up with very high USD prices. This in turn means all your customers simply pay in ZWL and you will not get that much needed foreign currency.

How will this affect prices?

It’s not yet clear how this will affect Utande’s USD prices though. Will they come down? If they do end up using a market-based rate they might end up reducing their USD prices a bit. Or they might just keep them the same and just hike ZWL prices. We will keep watch and tell you how their prices change on the first of April.