Zimbabwe's telecommunications regulator, Potraz, has angered many mobile phone customers by ordering the country's largest service provider to reverse a 60% cut in its user tariffs.
The privately owned Econet reduced their call rates from 25 cents-per-minute to only 10 cents just last week, seeking to compete with the much cheaper rates offered to customers by the state-run Telecel.
But Econet customers' joy was short-lived and replaced by anger at Potraz, with the regulator claiming that any increase or decrease in tariffs has to be approved by the authority "in order to safeguard consumers as well as promote fair competition".
Econet customers have refused to buy the claim by Potraz that the order "was in line with telecoms regulations", according to the independent Newsday newspaper. Many have instead accused the telecoms regulator of being "unfair" and using "double standards" to undermine Econet.
One Newsday reader wrote: "This has just exposed Potraz's double standards. Netone and Telecel customers are phoning for free and when Econet gives us the same, they start to take sides."
Another frustrated reader wrote: "People are virtually phoning for next to nothing on these two networks. Potraz should be fair. Stop rigging please."
Government blocked Econet from setting up a mobile phone system in the late 1990's, but allowed the government owned NetOne to be established. In December 1997 Strive Masiyiwa, won his long running constitutional court case and proceeded to set up Econet.
A telecoms expert, who chose to remain anonymous, told SW Radio Africa that Econet was only licensed after the late Joshua Nkomo interfered and lobbied government on behalf of Strive Masiyiwa
The company posed a threat to the government owned NetOne from the beginning, surpassing their customer base as well as that of Telecel, which was established after Econet. Masiyiwa eventually left Zimbabwe and settled in South Africa.