Africom has received a lot of praise since it launched its mobile broadband service a little more than a month ago. Most users of the new service love it. Some subscribers even credit Africom with bringing the first true mobile broadband experience to Zimbabwe.
The praise is deserved. At least in our humble opinion. We have the used the service and we love it too. Though, like we said in an article earlier today, we can only make meaningful comparison with other services when the dust settles.
Last week, Africom released the pricing of the new internet service, coincidentally (or by design maybe) around the same time Econet did. Econet is basically selling a gigabyte of data for US $98 and Africom is selling the same for US $15.
The difference in pricing is just so obvious and so big subscribers started announcing on Facebook they were ditching Econet for Africom. Readers commenting on articles we’ve posted on this site didn’t have kind words for Econet. Take this article for example which is filled by negative comments against Econet.
On Friday last week, one of our writers went to Africom to get their account activated. They paid the US $15 for the 1 gigabyte package and asked how much they’d be charged after they burst the 1 GB. According to the Africom service person they talked to, it’s going to be US 10 cents per megabyte. That translates to US $100 per gigabyte! Now that’s a little more expensive than we heard a week ago.
In other words, if you’re a heavy internet user, Africom’s discounted price only applies to the first gigabyte. Beyond that, it’s a different story and you might want to be careful before you start spending hours on YouTube and uploading heavy pics and videos to Facebook.
But even if you are a heavy user, an $85 difference in price is still significant. What we found curious is that Africom is not making this per megabyte price very visible. It’s not in the press adverts for the service and the Africom site is down at this critical time.