Beyond A Gig, Africom’s Mobile Broadband Costs $100 Per Gig

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Africom Head Office
Africom Head Office
The Africom head office along Samora Machel, in Harare

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.


  1. JamesM

    Kabweza! How much did Econet pay you to write this bull$hit? I was at Africom last Thursday paying for my subscription and never did I hear anything remotely close to what you described here. Here are the facts as described to be me (and the hundreds of people who were signing on to Africom at the time I was paying) by Africom representatives. Recharge voucher cards will be sold at retail outlets when one uses up their traffic volume. A gig would be $18 (incl. VAT) When you use that up, you go and buy another recharge voucher for the same price. There would be other vouchers denominated differently.
    So please don’t go Econet and then come and write to us that you were at Africom! Eish

  2. Zimbroadband

    Please can you give us the speeds comparisons not the fees charged.

  3. taribabe

    And why does the Econet data bundle expire after 24 hrs??

  4. Kabweza

    We wrote this article specifically to warn people like you. And you are evidence that some people out there are misinformed.
    The fact is that you buy the 1GB at $18 (that’s $15 + VAT)
    Once you have exhausted your 1GB, you will buy recharge cards that are in denominations of $2, $5 etc… You will use the recharge at 10cents per megabyte. You might want to give Africom a call.

  5. Blessing Dube

    Econet’s pricing is a shocking case of exploiting their customers. This is why per second billing took so long to introduce. This is also why airtime windows are non cumulative. They put an ad in the press today extending the window. Wow, what a pointless exercise if they are non cumulative. They will bleed us for every cent they can get and then make lots of noise about great profits. I for one am throwing my data line in the bin. Potraz please introduce number portability. I am stuck with them for my business mobile number. Thumbs up to Africom.

  6. kondozi

    Kabweza seems spot on. In Mzansi on 3G, its about R0.4 per megabyte on prepaid, so both these Kabiyaz are overcharging. I get uncapped for R219 per month on ADSL. Please can you give an idea of the covered areas in Econet broadband (or is it wherever there is Econet coverage). Can anyone also give downlink speeds.

  7. Zimbroadband

    What are the speeds like for Powertel, Econet & Africom?

  8. tendai

    please can you tell us the areas in harare (cbd and greater harare) covered by africom and powertel.

  9. Native

    this Econet is bleeding its customers.What is it with Zim companies.they always want to fleece customers.I advice Africom to open up its coverage quickly.I wont hesitate a moment to move over to Africom.For now i move over to Powertel.

  10. JamesM

    You are dead right and I stand corrected. I called Africom and they concurred what you said above. Apologies to you for my innuendos. I won’t however share with you on this forum just how delighted I was to hear of Africom’s GIG price after one has exhausted their initial GIG (FREAKING ….!). I am bit discouraged because with these prices the internet economy will not be realized in Zim, but we’ll have to watch our neighbours enjoy all the spoils. In spite of the numbers of smart and enterprising individuals this country is blessed with.

  11. Gora

    Oh for God’s sake stop ****** and moaning about price all of you. IT COSTS MORE THAN 15$ PER MEGABYTE TO BRING IN THE BANDWIDTH!! When will you all realise that its not about profiteering, but about the bad infrastructure and the lack of investment in the telecoms sector. Europe and America were fiberised 30 years ago, Asia and the middle east about 10 years ago. AND its a business! And businesses exist to make money. If you are so unhappy and cannot stop yourselves from complaining all the time instead of coming up with CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, start your own ISP and see what it takes and costs.

  12. slackie does a good job of explaining why internet is slow and expensive in zim. i would not sign up to any provider in a hurry until I had tested all of them, and compared all their packages. yoafrica and zol offer offpeak unlimited and free email and local content. yoafrica is offering a new reasonably priced wimax product so i’d check that out too.

  13. wizzard

    I’m sure powertel is charging a flat rate of $50 uncapped internet. I think thats a better option. Down south adsl charges are affordable even to a school kid. Take PC Format Live for example:
    3gb of data is R51,
    5gb – R85
    10gb – R130
    20gb – R200 (thats only R10 per gig)
    100gb – R900

    take a look at

  14. JamesM

    Why are you going to all the way to Europe and Asia? Start off with our neighbours right next door to us for heaven’s sake! Keep it right here on the continent and see how our fella African have brothers enjoy market driven internet price structures rather than what we have. They like us just completed their internet data infrastrctures. And their prices are a true reflection of market supply and demand. They have opened up their markets to foreign players and prices are well within reach of the majority of their peoples. Look at Kenya, competition there is sizzling hot and they are enjoying dead cheap broadband services. Precisely why Google setup their regional office for Africa there. Forget the ‘if your not happy why don’t you start own isp blah blah’. None of us need to. Open up the market to foreign competitors with deep pockets and prices will come down fast. Our problem is confounded by the likes of Econet, who by virtue of the monopoly they enjoy collude with a government minister to prevent much-needed competition. And as you can see it’s you and I who suffer. Ironically in the foreign markets Econet competes they are badly getting beaten and only make headlines in courtroom duels.

  15. Kabweza
  16. itai

    so at the end of the day, if you are not a light user, you are better off being on Econet because, you will end up paying teh $100 that you have been avoiding anyway. Or if you want harare coverage, you just do Powertel. for nationwide coverage, you can just do Econet.

  17. Ashley Honzeri

    Did you hear of anything called chill spot, I like it I mean $40 per gig without the extra costs of the mordem and so forth and so forth I think its better thaa all the above

  18. Ashley Honzeri

    Did I say chilli spot I meant chilli spot for more info go to the rates are as follows
    * You will need a Wi-Fi enabled laptop, PDA or phone which will scan for the ‘Chilli-Spot’ wireless network at one of the dedicated Wi-Fi hotspots. Alternatively, you can set your SSID to ‘Chilli-Spot’ (Wi-Fi).
    * You will also need to purchase a Chilli-Spot scratchcard from the hotspot venue. This card will give you your username and password.
    * Then, switch on your wireless device and open your web browser. The Chilli-Spot log-in page will appear automatically and will ask you for your username and password. Simply enter these details and you’re ready to start enjoying the benefits of Wi-Fi Internet access!

    Once you’re connected you’re free to use your web browser, instant messenger (skype, googletalk etc.), email and other internet applications.

  19. munhu

    Advertising ?

  20. goma

    just sharering info wangu I dont work for chilli sport

  21. Sam

    How is Powertel Charging. I am told they are probably the best option right now?

  22. pac

    $60 for the modem and SIM.Subscription $50 per month.

  23. Wonder

    We want mobile internet, not to have a coffee just because I want to check my emails…..If its like that I can as well use my office internet free of charge!

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