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Africom Still ‘Giving Away’ Free Mobile Internet

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Free Bandwidth

Free BandwidthIf you made a decision to buy Africom’s broadband service during the one month free trial, or soon after the paid services launched, you’re probably patting yourself on the back for making one of the wisest connectivity decisions you’ve made this year.

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For two reasons.

First, let’s admit it, Africom’s broadband is fast. Those of you that have used it know what I mean. It’s a pity coverage is still limited to Harare. But Africom promised they’re expanding to the other major cities before too many weeks have passed. Not that you need to hold your breath on that word but hey, At least there’s a target here.

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Second, and more important at this moment: despite Africom activating the accounts for a very customer friendly price of US $18 per gigabyte, it’s turning out subscribers are actually bursting their 1GB and continuing to use the internet free of charge.

Now you might say, well, Africom will just bill them for the extra megabytes later. Not exactly. This was never meant to be a post paid service. The service is prepaid and if you use up what you’ve paid for, you simply get disconnected until you buy a recharge card and top up your account. Essentially therefore this might point to the fact that Africom is currently not able to measure how much Internet you’re using.

There’s more. Some subscribers are actually not even using their usernames and passwords. Apparently, some people who couldn’t afford to activate their accounts (by paying the US $18) just continued using the promotional default accounts which were supposed to expire (and terminate) on the 23rd of October.

We sent an email to Africom asking them if they are aware and if anything being done to fix it (not that it needs to be fixed hey) and here’s the response we got just a few minutes ago:

Yes, we are aware. The billing platform is in place and ready. However, Africom has deliberately decided to defer activating this pending the resolution of some outstanding integration aspects.

This decision was made to ensure minimal inconvenience to our customers and to provide continued uninterrupted access to our mobile broadband platform as it integrates with other services allowed by our converged licence.

Back in September when the one month free promotion launched, one ISP exec told us the likely reason they were giving internet away was their billing system wasn’t ready. Billing wasn’t ready but they had to launch anyway because competitors (PowerTel and Econet) were touting similar products. Same source tells us PowerTel’s broadband is “unlimited” because PowerTel just doesn’t have the bandwidth capping systems in place. We believe this because we saw the PowerTel tender for a billing system in the press some weeks ago.


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10 thoughts on “Africom Still ‘Giving Away’ Free Mobile Internet

  1. ..zvakaoma wena, rega nditobuda nditengewo ndichuchise mudziyo. As long as the service works and the billing is fauly thats good for me as a customer asi kana paaneIssue yekuti service haishandi asi billing inoshanda then panenge paita dambudziko…

  2. Africom seems to have some very savvy marketing strategists indeed. They are prepared to sacrifice short-term inconveniences for long-term gains. And long-term gains they will enjoy! I have watched Africom’s service improve ever since I bought their modem at the launch of their free promotion. The online experience has improved tremendously along with some smart customer service to go with it. Often you receive sms messages from them saying that their network is experiencing difficulties even if you don’t feel it. Once during the promotion period I was having difficulties connecting, and the sales person I spoke to over the phone was prepared to drive to my place and assist. Now what can you say about such customer service? Thank you Africom and keep up the exemplary service, you have won my admiration.

    Even if Africom’s billing system is experiencing difficulties, I will still go and pay my 1GIG as they deserve our support. I hope more people will do the same. They are not offering FREE LIFE INSURANCE but good-old-fashioned good customer service along with reasonable prices in the industry they are committed to do well in. Thank you Africom!

  3. well, techzim africom has also rolled out limited service in byo. the speeds are pretty fast. in the mornings u can download at 160 – 180kbs. the service is a bit erractic at times. i do agree somehow the reason for continued free could be billing system related coz one guy there said they were bulding a portal for customers to track usage and buy top ups. but hey its just a guy at office nothing official. i have also exceed my 1gb limit and still rolling on. thanks africom!!

  4. I am embarassed to say I am also riding the freedom train of fast bandwidth. At least one company is trying to please its customers in Zimbabwe. Very rare indeed!

  5. It’s a good start. Instead of simply hyping network capabilities Africom’s go-Live strategy has so far successfully focused on service looking at the customer-driven market, hence the overwhelming response. A rapid impact analysis after these draw-backs will not only give these guys an opportunity to fine-tune service and network provisioning but also assist them to correctly re-quantify both traffic/volume forecasts and customer needs and preferences.

  6. that’l be:

    Harare
    Southwing, Block 2 Tendeseka Office Park
    Samora Machel Avenue
    Eastlea
    +263 4 252 112-5

    Bulawayo
    Office 109, 1st Floor Fidelity Life Centre
    Fife Street/11th Avenue,
    Bulawayo
    +263 9 880 722
    Tel/Fax +263 9 880 092

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