How does 2 GB of free data sound? Econet is hoping you’ll say exciting. The mobile operator has been offering that much in free data to anyone who buys one of the ZTE phones being sold by their devices division.
According to the Econet website, the ZTE V795 which is priced at $68 comes with 2 GB of data and one month’s access to WhatsApp. There’s also a promotion for the ZTE C310, which goes for $59 and also comes with data, but only 1 GB.
These sound like really generous offers when you consider the high price of mobile broadband. A 1 GB bundle will set you back $35, and the 2.5 GB is pegged at $50. This means that for the ZTE V795, close to $50 is being discounted, especially when you consider the $6 for the WhatsApp bundles. the ZTE C310 is effectively being sold for $24
But, like all things that are too good to be true, there are questions that pop up here. Why is Econet struggling so much to sell these particular devices? After all, this is the same V795 model that Steward Bank has been offering on a $3 month contract to college students.
The likely reason is that the pricing of Econet devices is off, something which would push away buyers of entry level smartphones who can’t fork out $68 just to be on WhatsApp. An earlier version of the V795 device entered the market at $55, so pushing it at $68 might have been a faux pas in our price sensitive market.
In an aggressive market like Zimbabwe in October 2015, there are other vendors, both registered and street based, that can sell the dream of a smartphone for a lower price. There’s also room for negotiations with these providers, something that Econet can’t offer you.
The argument that Econet and other established distributors will put up regarding price is centred on the new duty on devices which was introduced last year and impacted retail prices. Smaller distributors have often found “inventive” ways to work around this.
Another possibility could be that there are some challenges with these ZTE models. Perhaps buyers have shunned the limited specs or there could be some brand apathy.
Whatever the case, Econet is doing a lot to push these phones. Who knows, maybe a chunk of free data is what will win over people’s hearts.