Everything is changing again! uMAX becomes Zim’s lowest priced broadband

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When we sampled Utande’s uMAX internet last year we noted that it was the most stable and consistently fast internet experience on the market. But we also added: “In terms of affordability if uMAX was a stock it’s the proverbial ‘not for the widows and orphans’ type”. Because it was priced out of reach of the average middle income family or small business. Both the equipment you needed to but to connect, and the monthly bandwidth price.

Not anymore. uMAX has slashed prices so much they’re now as mass market as your mobile operators. The company announced today the introduction of a monthly 20GB data bundle for just $75 which comes with the uMAX setup equipment free. That’s less than a cent per megabyte. 0.4 cents to be specific! Unbelievable, right? Compare that to the previous rates below. At $240 for just 12GB previously, this reduction is roughly 80%.

umax-new-prices

But there’s a small catch; you only qualify if you’re signing a 1 year contract. If you want to walk out earlier than a year, we’re told you’ll just have to hand them back the equipment you got for free. Which is still great of course, coz you will essentially not lose anything if you decide to go to their competition, which will surely have to respond to this. Remember 2.5GB for $50 seemed like a very cool deal just 7 days ago!

If you’re not one to do year long commitments, uMAX has a flexiMAX option, which is basically pay-as-you-go at 2 cents per megabyte peak, and 1 cent off peak. Just a bit below what the mobile competition offer currently. The unattractive bit about this option though is that you have to pay for the equipment, which is at least $200. In many ways that’s still ‘not for the widows and orphans.’

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Regardless, these rates make uMAX the cheapest broadband internet on the market today. Even cheaper than TelOne, the company famed for not caring about making money.

We should mention here though that for smaller bundles (10GB and 15GB) TelOne ADSL still works out a bit cheaper, and especially since Utande doesn’t have smaller bundles at the moment. But how many families have land lines?  And how many of those that do know TelOne for great customer support? And for those that might want ADSL anyway, how many don’t owe TelOne thousands in hyper-inflated bills?

It’s also important to note that uMAX delivers data at 1Mbps, which, in our experience was almost guaranteed. Only ADSL (and fibre) locally provided comparable service stability and consistency.

Along with the other players in recent weeks, the move by uMAX ushers in a new era in internet cost, accessibility and usage in Zimbabwe. Even though the $75 package is not accessible to low income families now, the new trend is clear. Those that do have access now will use the internet in new ways that, just weeks ago, were unimaginable. And it will only get better in the coming months!

Here’s the uMAX press release for details. Also check out the full terms and conditions of the deal here.



22 Comments

  1. beatnyama says:

    At this rate, internet prices in Zim will soon be at par with other Southern African countries. Because at the moment, its still a little bit more expensive. For example unlimited 4G this side is about 1200 rands with a free router supporting up to 32 devices. There are also other cheaper home options as well.
    But its a good start in the right direction. The moment service providers start competing like this, its the users who benefit.

  2. anthonysomerset says:

    i’m currently enquiring if the monthly package has off peak rates also and the cost if you need to go beyond the packages, it might actually become better than telone.

    I’ve been running Max365 as a backup connection for when telone goes down, and i have friends that work at UMax – i have to say they have the best customer service between Zol, Telone, Yoafrica and themselves and i agree they might not be the outright fastest but they are the most consistent and reliable (external fibre issues not withstanding of course)

  3. Cheetor says:

    To heck with econet, Giraffe is back on the menu!

  4. MhukaHuru says:

    Thank you, I was almost switching to the ones i hate, EcoNeta!

  5. Teflon says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the definition of broadband supposed to be 4mbps down and 1MBps upload? Either way its a huge step in the right direction. Kudos to uMAX. Anyone gamers here know how decent this connection is for Xbox LIVE? I currently use telecel and it does a more than decent job for online gaming. Cheers

    1. broadband definition depends where you are 😉

    2. [email protected] says:

      woah! You must be bucksed up! Online gaming over mobile internet?! Either its a two minute gaming session or you’re swimming in cash.

      Typically, how long is your gaming session and at what cost, if you dont mind answering…?

      1. Teflon says:

        lol…not bucksed up at all mate. I top up $45 on telecel for one GB plus a bonus 1 GB making it 2 GB total. I rarely game on week nights (Mon-Fri total 4hours). On weekends I can on average play online for about 3-5 hours (depending if the girlfriend will allow ;)) on saturday and sunday. I go through about 100MB on Xbox LIVE per week. I pay for xbox LIVE via FBC card which is about $5 a month. So total for a good amount of gaming in a month is about $50, but I use a good chunk of my bandwidth on mobile internet whatsapp, opera mini, apps etc also I use it for my personal web browsing via PC. Online gaming isnt as out of reach as most people think imo.

  6. Aurther says:

    Great! for the first time in 7 years am considering changing my current ISP.

  7. Wonder says:

    My question is where are they getting this bandwidth at such a subsidized rate? Does it means that all along hey have been ripping us off? Or Is it that they failed to attract enough customers now they want to fish us and the services will drastically go down and prices up? I am smelling something here!

    1. Time says:

      Yes, you’re smelling competition at its finest. And Umax is clever coz they beat others to the punch…ZOL was/is about mulling a drastic move aswell according to an email I got not so long back aswell as was Yo. But Umax did that clearly drastic thing first! So if Umax can secure the market share now, if at a reduced profit, they’ll have us in the long run thus actually greatly improving their future profits.

      Your thoughts of “smelling something here” seem to be those of an Econet perspective that is all the networks investment and more should be recouped in as short a time as possible with unfair prices to consumers instead of rather focusing on market share and reputation with a long term strategy in place that will see the investment being recouped aswell as having a good chunk of a satisfied market.

  8. Ishmakdud says:

    This move has the same impact as when Econet introduced mobile internet. The game ha just changed

  9. vaGudoguru says:

    Will try it out. Their customer service is definitely better than any other provider out there

  10. Time says:

    WOOOOOoooOoOOWW their marketing department actually read the comments of this site and listened to real people on the ground. I remember not so long ago asking for broadband that didnt have to be super fast but rather 1mb that gave me peace of mind in that I wont run out of internet as long as Im a considerate and civil internet user!

    But before I celebrate too much…does this $75 also cover outdoor equipment as I live in a wooded area and Ill will definitely need the outdoor unit. IF it does cover the outdoor cost then this is the solution that I personally have been waiting for!…Bye Bye powertel… hello internet!

    1. classic says:

      Bye Bye powertel… hello internet!

      classic!!!!!!

    2. uMAX says:

      The $75 covers the equipment you would need to connect to our services, regardless of whether it is an indoor or outdoor modem.

  11. ic0n1c says:

    This is a very good product, and competes directly with both the mobile 3G and TelOne’s ADSL. And on the brighter side there is equipment cost!!! I would go for this package any day!

  12. Ndini Wenyu says:

    I see nothing new. My ISP has been giving me unlimited bandwidth for a year for cheaper, with better speeds too!. YO, ZOL, Powertel have competing packages. I topped at 53GB for $70.00

  13. Future says:

    a strong content marketing strategy

  14. sinclair says:

    OK I went ahead and after a bit delayed install (they obviously did get flooded with applications…) I have been trying it since Friday afternoon. So far it delivers on the promise made in terms of speed and access. If anyone wonders you get the whole thing – modem, wireless router and installation – in the deal.

    Now byebye hopefully for ever lousy PowerTel and freaky expensive 3G…

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