We’ve just received a press release from Econet with some news we can’t say we expected. Apparently, the recently launched Econet Broadband service has been a “runaway successes surpassing anything the company has experienced before.” Econet says it has connected more than 100,000 subscribers within just a week.
As you probably know, there has been outcry (on the Internet at least) about Econet Broadband tariffs being too exorbitant. People are just basically saying the prices are too high and they won’t subscribe.
Take yesterday for example when we posted an article about the reduction of prices Econet has effected. All the comments to the article maintain Econet’s internet is still too expensive to consider. One commenter even compared it to Malawi’s Zain and pointed us to this Zain Internet tariffs page.
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There is a group on the other side. This group of people (mainly from Internet service providers) says that even though Econet is charging an arm and leg for internet access, it’s justified in doing so, so it can recoup money poured into telecoms infrastructure development. The argument offered is that Econet has invested heavily in infrastructure and it’s only fair for it to reap some meaningful return on the investment. The other argument is of course that Zim gets most of its international traffic through expensive satellites and that Econet is simply passing on the high cost to subscribers.
Justified or not, Econet says mobile broadband is selling like hot cakes! This sort of confirms a conversation we had with an Econet executive yesterday. According to him Econet is actually failing to cop. “our shops are overcrowded” he exclaimed!
So, I guess for all the noise people have been making, Zimboz are actually signing up by the bus loads. It’d be interesting to get the figures of the actual revenue received from broadband activations.
Here’s the full text of the release:
Econet Wireless says Econet Broadband and Ecolife, two services launched by the company over the past month, have been runaway successes surpassing anything the company has experienced before.
Within just one week, Econet Broadband has expanded to more than 100 000 connected customers and the company is bracing itself for continued rapid growth well into coming year. Ecolife, the life insurance product jointly run by Econet and First Mutual Life, is also seeing subscriber numbers double every week. The number of Zimbabweans on Ecolife has now gone past 300 000 within a month of launch.
Econet Wireless CEO Mr Douglas Mboweni said management was astounded but delighted by the better-than-expected demand for the two services.
It had taken over 15 months of development to get Ecolife to market, he said. “This is not something you buy off the shelf. It runs on very sophisticated software, and it had to be developed for our specific needs,” Mr Mboweni said.
Adding that having a shareholding in Afre, the parent company of FML, had made it easier to develop the service. More insurance products would follow soon, including a service for the Zimbabwean Diaspora, he disclosed.
On broadband, Mr Mboweni reported both demand and usage were strong. Much of the demand was being driven by users of Econet Broadband’s “On the Go” service, which gives users internet access on their mobile phones.