As you probably know already, Africom started an ad campagin for the launch of mobile telephony and some new data services last week. The full message of the availability of mobile telephony and the additional data services was made earlier this week. This morning, Africom sent us the tariffs for the new services.
The voice tariffs are, well, let’s just say way cheaper than we expected! We generally expected that Africom would undercut the incumbent voice operators (Econet, NetOne, Telecel and TelOne) but we didn’t foresee it’d be by this much.
Without wasting your time, here are the tariffs, side by side with the incumbents for good comparison:
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On-net are calls within the network and Off-net is when a caller calls a number outside their network.
All this is good news ofcourse, and we’re all excited. But there’s more to service than a tariff tag. Not to pour cold water on this great offering but there are the issues of network coverage and cost of setup that may see a lot of prospective subscribers discouraged from adopting the services at this stage.
The limited network coverage means subscribers will need a backup mobile phone from the other mobile operators for those areas the Africom service hasn’t reached yet. Still, it’s not like Zimbabweans are not used to carrying multiple mobile phones at a time. There’s the issue of Africom using a different mobile voice technology as well (CDMA). This means subscribers will not be able to migrate to the Africom network without needing to buy a new mobile phone.
On the data side Africom hasn’t really introduced any noticeably cheaper packages. If anything, the packages introduced cost relatively more. It says a lot about the standard they set; even they can’t beat their current US$18 1GB bundle that we all love. The services seem targeted at individuals and small businesses. Here are the data tariffs:
You can click here to download the full tariff schedule (pdf document).
We’re still working to get more details on the mobile phone devices needed for the Africom network and how much they’ll cost. This will have a lot of bearing on the uptake of the service. We have also requested the current coverage of the services.
We would love to know your thoughts on this. Are you going to get yourself an Africom line?