Internet price reduction not trickling down to consumers

The recent reduction in Internet prices by the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) has not been beneficial to customers.

At a BTCL breakfast meeting held yesterday for clients, BTCL customers complained that the benefits of the price reductions have not trickled down to them.

Botswana Building Society’s head of Information Systems and Networking, Isaac Itheetseng said although the telecommunications group has announced a 75 percent price reduction last year, they have not seen the effect on their charges. 

“We have been using the BTCL Internet for about eleven years, but we have never seen any price reduction offered to us,” he said.


Julia Disho from National Strategy Office at the Office of the President, said they have also not enjoyed the price reduction benefits. “Since BTCL have been announcing the price reductions, we have not seen any changes as customers. We are also requesting BTCL to advise us on products and services which are compatible to us because most of their products are more costly, but we are not getting value for money,” she said.

Responding to the concerns, BTCL Head of Corporations and Government Accounts, Solomon Rabewu said they have restructured their services and will now be able assess all the accounts for customers and provide a better solution to the pricing problems. “We have started restructuring of our services and now we have a team that manages accounts. We will sort this issue of prices out because every customer is supposed to enjoy these price reductions,” he said.

BTCL hosted the breakfast meeting to advise clients on improvements to some of their products and services. The improved services include the Metro Area Network that is now covering 15 sites and the Smart office PABX system, which is efficient to businesses as it offers conference calls and less communication costs.

The telecommunications company rolled out the Metro area network in 2007. It is a high-speed network that allows transportation of high capacity bandwidth of up to one gig (1G) and supports multiple business applications including conference call, all through a single link.

Rabewu said the Metro Area Network was initially available in Gaborone, but has since been extended to other main centers, including Francistown, Palapye, Selibe-Phikwe, Maun, Jwaneng, Lobatse, Orapa and Ghanzi. ”Initially, the Internet was transport system was set in Gaborone only but now it has also been set up in Francistown and Phikwe and this makes pricing much easier and cheaper,” he said. Rabewu added that the pricing is much easier as they can make charges within the cloud, based on the distance. “There is the intra-charge which is applied within the cloud and the distance charge which is applied beyond 50 kilometers, this new pricing structure is cost saving to customers,” he said. When the under sea cables were introduced two years ago, BTCL promised faster and cheaper Internet to its customers, but the benefits are yet to be fully realised.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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