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Open Letter To Econet And Its Founders

[This guest post was written by Oscar Manduku, author of Everyone Online, publisher of,, and many other projects and businesses. He is current chairman of The Advertising & Publicity Club of Harare. He is a techie, turned publisher. We have invited Econet to respond to this letter and will post the response once we get a response.]

Firstly, I love Econet, its brands, and the founder to bits. Having moved that out of the way, allow me to openly rebuke the one that I love. I am being candid because you made me your BUDDIE, and gave me the LIBERTIE to become your business PARTNA.

You so rightly quoting the apostle Peter from the Bible on your recent billboards: “Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you”.  Paul was writing to a people being oppressed by a Roman empire that was promoting its own agenda above the people’s agenda. These words were therefore inspired of the Heavenly father, the Lord Saboath, Him who fights for the defenseless and weak. The Lord of Hosts as He is known.

To get to the issue, your Internet tariffs are extremely unrealistic, oppressive and suicidal. I have done my homework (through asking people from Econet, internet experts, local investment leaders, and my own observations,) and concluded that your pricing is not justified and should be reduced before it causes damage to yourself, your brands, web consumers and Zimbabwean business in general.

Charging US$30 for 100MB of bandwidth is nothing short of greed, if not flipping the lid per se. Before you started offering this mobile broadband, we had ZOL charging US$15 for that same 100MB data bundle. But you should realise that ZOL is not a telecoms company. ZOL is justified, and even gives extra free bandwidth on top of the basic bundle. Yo Africa also has 1,000MB at the same price as your 100MB.

Now, you are a different case. You fought your battles. We prayed for you. You grew your network to become the giant, as King David of Ancient Israel did. You have given birth to a Solomon generation, who are ruling, yet have now lost the plot.

With a client base over 4 million subscribers, you have the potential of getting a healthy return on investment and expand your business within a year, but you want your ROI in a few months. If we say, hypothetically that you connect 500,000 people, who use that 100MB per day at a price of US$5 for 365 days, you will make a billion dollars, which is ten times the investment you put in. These are just modest estimates, because I am not including the downstream businesses that you can venture into like mobile money, and shopping. Please stop thinking like the money changers that wanted quick returns without effort lest Jesus comes into your place and destroys your equipment as He did in the temple market in Jerusalem two millennia ago!

Why then are you oppressing web consumers, just because you can?

If you had not made a public stance of publishing scriptures on the billboards, I most probably wouldn’t have written this letter, but, because you did so, you’ve allowed yourself to be judged by a behaviour law high above man – the behaviour law that says “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:  But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”

Do you realise that you have the potential to cause price increases in other consumer goods and services, as the cost of connectivity will now be pegged at your greedy prices? Who gave you that heart of stone that causes you to come up with prices that will make even the richest man poor if he wishes to watch videos online?

What equipment or costs are you servicing or upgrading that need such enormous financial coverage? Which US dollar are you using that we all do not understand? Do you honestly think that God, the one you publish boldly will sit and watch your oppressive behaviour?

Listen here, if you do not change as soon as possible, you will call upon  yourself what King Solomon did, enemies to come and plunder your kingdom. They will come from the north, and the south will not hold back, neither will the east release the sun on you, even so the west will always be your potion, unless you change your ways.

Amend your ways. Return to your original prayer and calling – telecommunications for the people.

Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

46 thoughts on “Open Letter To Econet And Its Founders

  1. ….only in zimbabwe, does anyone with no stake in a company bay az if they own a stake innit…econet iz into the business of making money. They did not git to where they are by being charitable.

    Remember tis laiessez-faire. U don’t like it don’t buy it, can’t afford it stick to wat u can!

    I’d like to see yuh tell it to ZESA, Net One or Tel one for that matter!

    [comment edited by the editor]

  2. Vakomana taura hako!!! I remember back in the days e “Eco chiii”. Let the truth be said Econet has lost the plot, they came amid fanfare and told us “Internet for all in 3 weeks time…”, but imagine the shock when we discovered that the ‘broadband for all’ was actually meant for only CEO’s and company directors. Broadband my foot, the speeds are pathetic, pamberi ne Powertel. Vakomana panevamwe varikuti e “ibhizimusi, e mungazviudze ZESA here izvozvo”, e isu tinoti e “pasi nema money changers, pasi ne profiteering, and futi ZESA (vis-a-vis) Powertel takavaudza vakaterera zvido zvevanhu”, maybe the bottom line is econet yakapinda mumadhiri asiri ayo, they had poor market research, and now are reeling from largely the impact of an overzeoulus marketing department that pushes the technical team to come out with half baked inferior and largely pre 2010 products.

    Have you ever tried calling econet customer care??!! Zvinenharo shefu, if they cant man their “state of the art call center”, ko technology idzi dzema zuva ano vangadzigona here? Vakomana ngatiregedze unyeberana, econet has bit a little bit too much, its failing to chew the whole piece. An 850 million rand project that is failing to kick off vakomana zvakawoma, dai va Mboweni (econet CEO) vambotarisisa project iyi, these days everyone ane telecel line maMEGA boss!, come on Telecel do us good hit us with some cheap and affordable internet, such that I may receive an email from mbuya kumusha vachiti “Mombe dzako dzadya mumunda mavaJacob”!!!!!!!

  3. hehe africom will deal with econet broadband for ceos if i had a billion dollars rght nw i wld give it to them to rival econet in the cellphone market tariffs ar still high

  4. Panyaya yecall centre … yah, panebasa. At least they’re recruiting. I mentioned to them that Pegasus House tower is incorrectly spelled as PeRgasus about six months ago – no change. Plus those billboards, HIDEOUS. Please stop disfiguring our city and rubbing our noses in it. And, while I’m at it, whatever is between Econet and Netone, please sort it out.

  5. Powertel is the way forward. Africom is another option if you are in Harare. I think Marketing department for Econet yakamhanyisa. Internet facility should be affordable to all. I believe in fixed charges when it comes internet broadband charges. Otherwise zvemaMega what? Giga what? Masubscriber mazhinji havazvizive so Econet will capitalise on that of which its totally unfair to the subscribers.

  6. Let’s be honest here – bleating about Econet’s high prices etc etc couched in religious rhetoric is not the way forward.

    If I worked at Econet and had to reply this, I’d tell you to jump. Econet have the right to charge WHATEVER THEY WANT for their service.

    They don’t answer to some higher power, they answer to their shareholders – all that bible-speak is MARKETING, comrade.

    It’s up to US the subscribers to either buy their product, or tell THEM to go jump, and vote with our wallets.

    Caveat emptor, comrades.

  7. I am amazed at some comments to the effect that we should quietly accept the unacceptable. No wonder those in power, be it central or local government, parastatal etc., will do as these please with us Zimbos because they are the chefs, take it or leave it! Don’t blame them for trampling under foot our democratic rights – they are actually encouraged by our ostrich attitudes, period!

  8. i hear you, but there are those that are even afraid to get onto the internet. greed is contrary to economies of scale. internet is for everyone my friend, not for the selected few.

  9. Yes, it SHOULD be for everyone. My point is that expecting Econet to have anything but their own bottom line at heart?

    Naivette. Econet WILL be greedy, it’s our own push-back as consumers that matters, not appealing to some higher calling the company may have claimed in their marketing endeavours.

  10. I have said it before and I will say it again. Econet long bought (a.k.a. BRIBED) government influence to prevent foreign competition entering our markets. We are now paying for it with high internet prices as we are all griping about. Quoting bible verses by Econet’s marketing is sheer BS!
    Econet makes profit in Zimbabwe they don’t make elsewhere because they are shielded by government influence which is in their pocket. Period.

  11. It’s not about quietly accepting the unacceptable – it’s a company selling a product, and if you don’t like the product, or the value the company has attached to it – don’t purchase it!

    There are better ways to engage Econet. How about a petition? How about gathering your peers / workmates / like-minded individuals and descending on Head Office, demanding to see Doug?

    We need to advocate our position as consumers or Econet’s product, instead of expecting Econet to have some sort of responsibility to us. They’d be broke if that was their model.

  12. Well econet, Telecel and Netone should give us back the money they took for us. They are now talking abt per second billing as if it was thier idea when in actual fact they were repping thier clients off and I bet you thier revenue has signifacantly dropped.

  13. backing the bribery claim with facts would sure help everybody understand. otherwise it’s just pure speculation.

  14. hapana zvaunotaura we, bribed goverment chii chacho..kana ari kudotito akzvihwa kuti gavhumendi yakati ichambopa ma company mukana wekuti amuke….kana econet ine malines of credit anoita kuti isumuke before competition yavhurirwa kungwara kwayo!

  15. Come on, why should we meet in private when the assault is at the public? They should be addressed in public, that way they will listen.

  16. It’s not even fair to compare Econet with other ISPs like ZOL, YoAfrica coz those guys give free bandwidth during the night and on weekends. These new mobile plans don’t care what time of the day you browse, they always charge.
    Econet should connect through Telco and provide us with the Cheap bandwidth with other ISPs like ZOL afford to give us for free from 7pm to 7am and on weekends instead on wasting resources and damaging our already depleted roads with fibre which is far much more expensive than ZOL/YoAfrica’s WHICH IS FREE ON WEEKENDS AND AFTER HOURS.

  17. A change that had to be forced on them through regulators. Is there a model for doing this regarding data? And how would regulation play out across the industry as a whole, not just the mobile players.

    Cos then mobile data pricing regulation would be viewed as unfair restraint on trade, wouldn’t it? In that case, I don’t believe a regulatory solution is viable.

    It’s all down to competition now. NetOne is useless, Telecel where are you?

  18. Netone are refusing to pay Econet what they owe Econet, so Econet have somehow made it difficult for calls from Netone to terminate on thier network.

  19. Fair enough. But you know as well as I do how impossible it is to prove such collusion. Let’s then look at the market pointers and see what they are telling us. Fact 1) We are all griping about prices from one dominant that you and I know are extortionate, but helpless to do anything about. Fact 2) That don’t dominant player, Econet, cannot replicate the profits it makes in it’s home market elsewhere in other markets it competes. Fact 3) Econet charges such prices knowing full well that there would never be any competition to challenge its dominant role on the Zim market. A market it knows its GUARANTEED to itself. Fact 4) Look at the prices Econet is charging, never mind its ____ customer service, and compare that to other telecoms players in other markets in the region, does that not tell you something?
    If it quakes like duck, walks like a duck, it’s got to be a duck for pete’s sake!

    [comment edited by a Techzim editor]

  20. What a letter!!! Amen to that, hopefully this solomonic econet will know that stealing from the poor is EVIL and one day, the Lord shall come like a thief in the night and set us all free from the tyranny!!

  21. *141# gives: you have been blacklisted, please contact customer care. On all three lines, including my other line that’s not even activated for data.

  22. Happened to me too.

    I had a bit of a panic attack – Was I downloading porn? Was I downloading movies? Then I thought hang on, $98 for 1G and roughly 700Mb a movie, that would mean it would cost me just about $67 just to download one movie. You’re damn right I didn’t download any movies!!!

    Just try again a bit later, should be fine (it was for me).

  23. LOL, I didn’t panice, cos I was still online when it was doing this. Always fun and games though.

  24. The charges are still over the top. But yu know what, that is the rope to prosperity. When other players see the obscene profits, they will venture in, competition and then low prices. We are in stage 1, so dont panic yet, I will wait for cheaper broadband in 1 years time.

  25. Its such a pity that other people have an ostrich head in the sand mentality and a few others justify the unjustifiable! The truth is that Econet is ripping people off!
    Forget the Solomon talk, Econet is acting more like Goliath and we all know what happened to Goliath when a young buck rode into town!

  26. iwe ndiwe usingaziwe ndudzi nedzudzi dzeshona wajaira kugara muharare makazara shona yakabvongodzwa

  27. I think this is partition enough, and don’t worry, they have become greedy in the name of the Lord, and that they will answer to Him. Doug, Strive, and the whole team are Christian, and they are fully aware of what happens when you oppress His people at the expense of your greed.

    Don’t worry yourself. Just watch what happens in the coming two months. He is not a blind God. If Econet license came through God, then He will correct them. Fear not, our salvation is near.

  28. i think u work for powertel, ask everyone using it right now, they tell u kuti ma speeds are impressive coz noone is staying there 24hrs. Had a chance to use a friend’s, and i liked it. only challenge i have is the cost

  29. He is a techie, turned publisher !!! Seems to me you know the bible pretty well and are a christian, But there is a scripture i read in the bible and would help us as brothers/sisters in Christ….
    Mathew 18:15 onwards
    “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will bee loosed in heaven.

    I think by merely writing this to the public , you are treating these guys as pagans. i don’t know what you think

  30. Why dont u compare apples with apples. Can you pse give us a sheet on econet, telecel, netone infact with all the other players (isp’s, etc), showing bandwidth versus their charges. This way we will be able to do a fair comparison than for you to just say econet is expensive. lastly dont tell us that ZOL is justified coz its not a telecomms company. WE dont care about that, all we care about is the speed, bandwidth and charges. finish & klaar.

  31. Recently attended the expo, thier PR event, some econet employees are becomming rude hey. I think they are rily enjoying themselves and forget abt the clients! Econet shld be realistic abt thier prices, stop killer prices

  32. video clip, 35sec, that abt 3.9MB, ukajuicer 5MB, unenge watova pama1, please Econet, be realistic…..I very much envy your innovative thinking, and product offers, but this is too much……We really nid to enjoy the service, but individually i am drained, money wise, no longer have the zeal to b always on the Net………

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