In a release we just received, Telecel has announced that it is scrapping the extra cost of calling mobile numbers outside the Telecel network. Effectively, this means Telecel subscribes will now call NetOne and Econet numbers at the same rate they call Telecel numbers.
Traditionally, all mobile operators charge more for calls outside their network. The current rates charged by all mobile operators (promotions aside) is US 25 cents per minute for calls to other mobile networks, US 23 cents per minute for calls inside the network and US 21 cents per minute for calls to landline operator, TelOne. On` the Telecel network, all calls to local mobile networks will now cost US 23 cents.
Of the three mobile operators in Zimbabwe, Telecel is now offering the cheapest out of network call rates.
Telecel Zimbabwe is the second largest mobile operator in the country by subscriber numbers. The mobile operator has about 1.3 million subscribers, well behind Zimbabwe’s largest telecommunications firm, Econet, which has over 5 million subscribers. NetOne, the smallest of three, has just under a million subscribers.
Given the extra out-of-network call cost, growing a mobile network in a country where one operator (Econet in this case) accounts for more than 65% of all mobile subscribers is understandably not easy. It just works out cheaper for subscribers to flock to the biggest operator because most of their friends, relatives and business associates are on the biggest network. That alone slows down the growth of smaller competing networks. Telecel here, is making a move to deal with this.
On the reduction, a Telecel spokesperson is quoted in the release:
It is a trend we started last year when we led the way in drastically reducing the cost of SIM cards and starter packs, which include a handset, and reduced the cost of calls to 23 major countries to the same cost as a standard local call.
This year we have decided to cut costs further for our customers by reducing the cost of calls to other networks to the same as the cost of calls on our own network, extending the validity period of our popular Mega Juice Card and offering purchasers of our lines free airtime for calls to other networks as well as our own.