My one month experience on NetOne and OneFusion

The Techzim team (except for one die-hard Econet loyalist) has been on Net One and subscribed to its One Fusion product for more than a month now. Some team members had long since acquired Net One lines and subscribed for One Fusion but it took a bit more convincing for me to try it out.

I finally got a Net One line at the beginning of December 2016 and this has been my experience so far.

I bought my line at NetOne’s shop in Westgate for $0.50. I was given the option to replicate my Econet number so I simply replaced 0775 with 0719. Having experienced NetOne through our speed test exercises I immediately asked for it to be activated for LTE (4G), I was told it was LTE activated but it never showed, I waited a few days (was in no real hurry since I’m always on wifi) and it still didn’t connect to LTE.

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After contacting NetOne customer support LTE finally connected on my device (which is fully compatible with Zimbabwean LTE). Once I was sure of getting LTE speeds I subscribed for One Fusion 10 which, for $10 and valid for a period of 30 days, gives you:

  • 800MB of mobile data
  • 130 minutes NetOne to NetOne calls
  • 40 minutes NetOne to other network calls
  • UNLIMITED Whatsapp
  • UNLIMITED Twitter
  • UNLIMITED Facebook
  • 30 SMS

On paper, this is the most attractive mobile product in Zimbabwe would suit any individual or small business team that does a lot of its work on social media platforms. There are other One Fusion products that offer more for a higher price but we decided to get the $10 product since we are always moving in and out of wifi and only need mobile internet for short periods of time.

If you noticed at the beginning of this article I deliberately separated NetOne and OneFusion, I could have said Techzim has been trying out NetOne’s OneFusion but I chose to say NetOne and its OneFusion product, this is because of the experiences I have had so far which I explain in more detail below.

My NetOne experience

My NetOne experience was not great. I had a lot of people complain they couldn’t get through to my NetOne number on different occasions and at different locations. NetOne to NetOne calls were great but Off Network calling and receiving left a lot to be desired.

There were a few occasions where my phone would be quiet for a good hour and only when I would check on it I would notice there was no service,  I had to toggle Airplane mode on and off to get back onto the network.

When ZESA would go, so would my network. I don’t know if this meant NetOne base stations didn’t have backup power or if it was just a coincidence, but every time heavy rains would fall and ZESA would go, I knew NetOne would follow suit and that was really annoying, usually when ZESA goes is when I would find time to browse through Twitter, Facebook and engage in chats on WhatsApp.

Travelling with NetOne over the Christmas period was also annoying, the Network would fluctuate and I never experienced constant coverage. After consulting with another Techzim team member, they too confirmed experiencing network issues that seemed to have increased for them over the last two months.

My network would drop down to EDGE/GPRS on quite a few occasions which may explain why people couldn’t get through to me so often.

My One Fusion Experience

After subscribing to OneFusion 10, I went about using my device as I would on a daily 250mb data bundle from Econet. I would occasionally check my Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter, WordPress, Facebook Page (Techzim page), browse the internet using Chrome and watch a quick tutorial or two on Youtube.

My emails stayed on and would fetch after every 5 minutes. All other background processes were restricted to use over wifi as was the case when using my Econet line.

All was well, LTE was handling all my needs and the 800mb mobile data lasted about 2 weeks, remember I am constantly in and out of wifi so the same cannot be said for someone who relies solely on mobile data.

Once my mobile data provision completed, my OneFusion took a nasty turn. OneFusion first used up all my mobile data before it started using the social media bundles and this is what I experienced once it was done:

WhatsApp

All of a sudden WhatsApp calls weren’t all going through or coming in. I would open my WhatsApp and see missed calls that weren’t pushed to notify me. On some occasions, I would try to make a call and my WhatsApp would notify me of no available internet connection, even though my chats were actively coming in.

I also had to open WhatsApp to get WhatsApp messages whereas whilst on mobile data I would get push notifications. I would open my WhatsApp and find multiple messages coming in at once with some of them requiring urgent attention at the time they were sent.

I was able to download videos and images though it was slightly slower that Econet. WhatsApp Video calling was also a major annoyance, calls would drop constantly so I completely abandoned using it.

Twitter

Twitter would refresh and load all Tweets but wouldn’t load images and videos. Only after attempting to open the images a few times would it show signs of being downloaded. I did not try going live on Twitter.

Facebook

Facebook was by far the best experience out of the three social media bundles, I could watch videos and browse through content with ease. It would load images relatively on time. I’m am not a heavy Facebook user, most if not all my Facebook activity comes from the Techzim Facebook page, and I was able to view all I needed to with relative ease. I did not try going live on Facebook, will do so soonest!

Conclusion

It’s difficult to say yes or no to Net One or One Fusion, in the end, you get what you pay for. What Techzim can advise is to check if NetOne works where you stay or where you work (or wherever you spend the majority of your time), it will only cost you $0.50 to get the line and test the network availability.

If NetOne service is poor in your area its best to stick to what works, the frustration is not worth a few dollars saved, especially if you need to be available to people at all times. Having it as a secondary line is not a bad idea too, you get to use it when it works but solely relying on it could prove to be irritating.

NetOne service is what brings down the OneFusion product, which Techzim still feels is a great product despite a few issues which are to be expected. OneFusion relies on NetOnes network to provide what the subscriber is paying for BUT at the same time NetOne relies on OneFusion to drive its comeback into the mobile network market.

Techzim noticed NetOne improved its customer support and we are often answered in a matter of seconds with what sounds like a professional team in place now. Techzim has also noticed that NetOne is now pushing its OneWallet product with new integrations offering subscribers greater service options, but, without addressing core network issues all the great cosmetic work could go to waste. In the end, the subscriber wants a reliable and consistent network that won’t fail them in their time of need.

Please share your experience with NetOne and OneFusion in the comment section below

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18 Comments

  1. Dave says:

    TechZim
    With the way you are always glorifying Econet and how you are always doing your best to drown everyone else has just made this Techzim website lose relevance.

    1. John says:

      Dave, these guys weren’t best buddies with Econet until recently been following them for a lenghty one

  2. Tino says:

    Techzim getting better with age like wine. Thanks for the critical piece, loved it.

  3. kilotango says:

    i cant say much about One Fusion or LTE, i’ve never used either. but i’ve been on a Netone contract line since 2001, using mostly 3G now, and its been perfectly fine for me.

  4. SlowVybz says:

    I have said it before , after the mobile data is gone I’m constantly switching with the econet line so that I make my whatsapp calls and check emails , it’s a bit annoying , unless potraz ordered them to run one promo at a time , the 48 hour bundle should bridge the gap, there is no way I can buy 17mb for a dollar. I agree with the article on the instability of the network , the can’t rely on it as the primary line , have seen the no service issue a number of time , or there is reception but it just doesn’t connect to the internet

  5. Macd Chip says:

    “…which is fully compatible with Zimbabwean LTE…”

    This is a first! What standards do Zimbabwe use to define LTE, who is the standards body?

    One issue which have to be clearly mentioned is that LTE is NOT compatible with 3G/EDGE. The architecture is totally different. 3G is circuit switched, EDGE is mainly circuit switched for call setup and packet switched for data transfer and voip services.

    LTE is purely packet switched and 100% IP at the core. It have fall back mechanism if there is no lte coverage, but the serving gateways have to be well planned and setup, not running out of diesel. For LTE to be available, the signal have to be good from user device or the way into the core. This is hard to achieve here in Zim where electricity is not that reliable and eNBs oversubscribed.

    What this mean to a user is that LTE will be found in patches, or not at all depending on where you are!

    1. Richard says:

      Why is that in Zimbabwe when you put your phone on Auto mode it always picks up the edge signal. Is 2G more powerful ? I have experienced that on both Netone and Econet and in some areas where 4 years ago I had great experience using 3G the network has become poor .

  6. Elton says:

    All my applications are working with one fusion bundles and my device is not even a 4G. I think netone have done a good thing by introducing these amazing packages. Thumps up to netone!

    1. Sophia says:

      Hapana hapana…stick to what works..,

  7. purple says:

    Finally a well written article. Wish other articles were so well articulated. The best university thing was well thought out. Now on to one fusion….the $10 dollar package is indeed the best. Usually the 800mb lasts about half a month and I rarely connect on wifi.One thing i dont do is whatsapp calls. I manage with the offnet airtime.Once its finished I switch to using the econet line. As for the onnet airtime it usually expires while I still have it on the line, of which i use if some one has the option of a netone number. When it comes to whatsapp bundle it really shines. I download videos through whatsapp, and usually in a month it accumulates to 2gig in my phone memory and then I just delete the whatsapp video folder. Now that I am trully grown up…when I am bored,I can go on facebook without worrying about chewing my other data bundles. sometimes, especially when the 800mb bundle is finished I turn my fone into a hotspot and browse via my laptop. and everyone else can connect like so.
    We should not expect world class service from netone. They are a parastatal. Thats why I use my econet number mukambudzi. Coz I know there is going to be an instance pandicharasiswa neNetone. So it explains why I give out my econet number instead of netone.
    So u just have to find a balancing point. Dont ditch econet.

  8. Sedt says:

    Wen i started using the one fusion. My life changed completely, i am shocked w those claiming tht the watsapp vedio call wont happen if you dnt hv Data Bundles, bt for me i hv bn able to call using the watsapp bundles, myb its only combatible on netone to netone cz many of my friends & relatives switched to netone…one day I tried to buy 250mb frm econet and surprisingly they didn’t last long enough a minute they wre all gone!

  9. tendai katsuwa says:

    Critical analysis – Dzombongororo

  10. Zibusiso Masuku says:

    I used this from mid-October to about end of November. My views:

    LTE speeds were too slow, given what I have experienced on Econet.
    Twitter bundles didn’t work at the time, although I had unlimited Twitter access.
    Calls to Netone users were excellent, to other networks, it was quite a struggle.
    My LTE kept dropping to HSPA and HSPA+ almost every time, and I had to always toggle it back to LTE using the ‘Network’ app from the Play Store.
    WhatsApp calls were not so good, the experience was much better with Econet Daily bundles.
    End of November I tossed the line away.. I would rather enjoy faster and more reliable speeds albeit with some less than advertised data caps than put up with the battery hogging and fluctuating experience that Netone provided.

    Just in case it’s necessary, I reside in Marlborough and work in Mt Pleasant.

  11. Tich says:

    I have used the One Fusion 10 and for real its the best till the 800MB is used up then the real problem comes. Yes Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp are unlimited but then internet is not based on those 3 only. Since i only use mobile data the 800MB didn’t last a week for me and the data bundles available are expensive $1 for 17MB. Only if they could return the 48hr bundle then this will be perfect. Where i stay the network is not a problem it works fine.
    When the 800MB is exhausted then i had to go on Whatsapp to receive messages. Whatsapp calling works fine with mobile data.

  12. dee says:

    Well all you said is true. If you buy whatsapp bundles you cant make whatsapp calls.facebook doesnt refresh on its own and most of the time the network is off in kadoma. So much for cheaper services

  13. Cryptic says:

    Critical analysis requires you to come to a solid conclusion. I ddnt see that. You just basically said it can go either way, in my view.

    Personally I have started using this one fusion thing and it is certainly much better value for money than any current econet or telecel product. All my friends on netone I basically have unlimited calls as I can never run down the on net minutes. Number migration, fantastic. Coverage has been great so far. Off net minutes are better than econet and telecel in my view. Internet and social bundles are much better and more cost effective than econet, whose weekly bundles are normally done in a day or two.

    Overall I think this is a good, cost effective product that has resulted in NetOne being an actual viable solution. The only problem I am seeing is that we are not sure when it will end.

    I highly recommend this product to:
    1. Companies that have to call each other frequently, make use of the on net minutes
    2. Families that constantly talk to each other, the on net minutes again are fantastic
    3. Entrepreneurs and business people – there is nothing more damaging than running out of airtime when chatting to a client. OneFusion 50 or 100 will be a fair package.

    I suggest you get a phone that accepts 2 Sim cards, mantain your current econet/telecel line and add the netone. Huawei have great products in the $200-300 region, and if you do your cost benefit analysis, that new gadget can be paid off in less than a year.

  14. Richard says:

    In your assessment you should note that of all the operators Netone has a social package which congests the network. Econet is clever enough note to congest it’s network , have you ever wondered why Econet despite its dominance and economies of scale never brought in a promotion like one fusion and dollar a day . They know that with 6 million active subscribers their network will become congested and that will create a lot of problems. In essence I think Netone actually did a good job with the one fusion product and I have seen many families migrating to Netone lines as a cost effective measure. The result therefore is that as many people come so does coverage shrink and this should be a addressed through additional network upgrades which are underway. Netone is still putting in more 2G/3G/4G Base stations to address capacity issues.

  15. me says:

    the telecomms industri is a cash cow in zimbabwe huge amounts curculate and econet has a huge share(accoding to supa having been protected from MTN) the two other competitors noe being owned by the gvnt wand protection and contro in this cash rich sector… so how do gvt plan to move clients from econet to its cpmpanies(same way it protected econe from mtn) frist insrustructure sharing(even if it reduces investment in infrustructrute) , controling promotions of the market leader in oder for follwers to outcompete it as they will be allowed to do make gud promos….. if that do not work because the market leader is using quality to compete what strategy will we employ set price floors to only affect the outlier that make even the quality fail to justfy a move to the cheper option… every one who is not into constant connection will optout te prices floor that is punitive and has no economic rational will move clients to the state enterprises …. what id the parastatal like all other parastatals fail to deliver to the clients the laws have given them…. clients nove to wifi fo internet and econet again to receive calls but hopelly the parastatals would have paid the chinese who gave them equipment on terms buy then othervise the state will asume the debt and pay it using taxpayers money

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