Effective today, the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) subscription rates have been increased by Airtel Zambia which has not been received well by subscribers with many threatening to leave the network and switch to predominantly MTN.
There are also many complaints that the BIS is slow in many areas on the Airtel network so the price hike is an added frustration.
In an email, Airtel responded to our query stating that they have ‘in the last month communicated directly to all BlackBerry users regarding the new tariffs which have come into effect today (January 5th, 2016). SMSes have been sent to all concerned customers to make them aware of the new tariff plan as per ZICTA guidance’.
For those asking if ZICTA is aware, well, the procedure is that before increasing or decreasing any tariffs, they write to the telecoms regulator (ZICTA) who either approve or disapprove. ZICTA then writes back with their decision and the need to communicate to customers who are affected by the changes.
Airtel has explained that the adjustments upwards is to meet the cost of the service from its providers:
Here are the new BIS rates:
If you have an existing active subscription, it will be charged at the new rate the next time you purchase another. If you are on the auto-renew subscription, your next bundle purchased from today will be charged at the new rate.
To answer the question is the new BIS rates BS? Yes, because slowly the service meant for the majority of the population that cannot afford the normal data bundles used on other operating systems is slowly fading away, making it expensive to use as well. We know the economy is facing hardships but that trickles down to the very last end user who feels the pinch of it all. Hiking BIS rates by almost 100% was in bad taste right now. They’re clearly more ‘business-is-business’ than ‘we-serve-the-customer’ at this point.
MTN’s BIS rates are:
Some rates are cheaper on both networks for the same plan.