Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates


Econet reduces price of Huawei Android smartphone. Accidentally promotes competitor.

According to a press ad published in yesterday’s Sunday Mail, Econet Wireless has reduced the price of the Android powered Huawei U8100 from $249 to $200. This is a very positive move on the part of the operator. Huawei is by design a consumer brand targeted at the mass market and not the premium market.

Two weeks ago, we posted news about the launch of the Huawei Ideos tablet in South Africa, and went on to point out how well the company’s smartphones have done in African markets like Kenya. As the nation’s largest telecoms company Econet’s responsibility is to encourage mass access and is thus better off working with players like Huawei, and not dedicating great emphasis and city center shop space to premium brands like Apple.

The same ad also featured Econet’s branded dongle (by ZTE) that is now retailing at a price of $40-it previously cost $50. The Econet modem has the lowest price tag on the market, so this is much welcome news. We believe this revised pricing has been driven by the increasing competition. Of these, Africom has fought the fiercest battle as its $18 for a 1GB entry point has attracted many a consumer.

Brodacom’s recent entry and pragmatic ad campaign offering fixed phones (Voice and Data capable) and wimax kits (that connect up to 20 people on Wi-Fi) at $170 and $250 respectively, is a good indication of the price wars to come.

While Econet has begun to respond to competition, its advertising people might need to adjust accordingly as the phone (picture) in the ad was ‘borrowed’ from Canadian operator, Wind Telecom.

This could have been another ‘one of those’; however Wind is owned by VimpelCom which in turn owns Telecel. By lifting a picture from the internet instead of putting those super profits to good use through a photo shoot or asking Huawei for a pic, Econet has indirectly promoted its competitor.

Had this mistake not occurred, this writer would not have then proceeded to Wind Telecom’s website to then find out that the Huawei U8100 costs $120 in that particular market. With mobile phones and other devices exempt from duty locally, one wonders if the current and previous pricing is justified-especially after considering the fact that selling phones is not Econet’s core business.

The U8100’s specs are as follows:

  • Android 2.1 OS
  • WIFI capable
  • GPS support
  • 180 MB internal memory (usable)
  • 2.8-inch Touch screen
  • 3.2 Mega-pixel Camera
  • Bluetooth
  • USB port (micro USB)
  • SD Card support (up to 16GB)

Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

9 thoughts on “Econet reduces price of Huawei Android smartphone. Accidentally promotes competitor.

  1. The Huawei u8100 is a good entry level Android phone, I agree the price is a bit steep. I got one from a friend and have been using it for a couple of months.

    Out of the box it comes with the Huawei logo,  Econet marketing might have picked a photo from the net. I had to upgrade mine using the Wind firmware update (, after the update at boot time its now showing the Wind logo.

    I did not like the Eclair ROM, which come with the phone, I had to root and try a couple of custom Eclair and Froyo ROM’s.  I am currently running The Celestial Teapot RLS4d (Eclair)

    For those interested in other custom ROM’s for the U8100 check out: 
    ([ROM] tahahawa’s U81XX Froyo Mod V1.3.8 (Now with OTA) (First U81XX ROM with OTA!!!))) ZODIAC FRUIT Custom ROM||HUAWEI U8120 u8110 u8100||vodafone 845||Pulse Mini
    HTC Sense port for U81XX

    Gingerbread – under development [Gingerbread for Huawei u8120/u8110/u8100]—Kernel 2.6.32 Baked Zodiac Cookie

    1. Ronald, you rock!, good to see some useful tech links here, saved me having to search on xda-developers 😀 

  2. That was very observant, and I am sincerely surprised that an organisation with a marketing budget that, I’m positive could rival Southern Sudan’s forecasted GDP, would overlook the fact  that there was someone else’s name on the picture they lifted from the internet. Can you honestly tell me that not one person in the whole advertising process from their agency to their own marketing executive did not think it necessary to at least google who “wind” was. Even if it didn’t lead them to the link with Telecel i am sure they would have at least super imposed a picture of the Econet logo over the one that was there. Photo shoots don’t cost that much guys.

    To their advertising team, this is the second mistake TZ has pointed out in the last two months to you guys. (remember the missing facebook logo on your broadband billboards) honestly please pull up your socks, you are running possibly the biggest ad campaign in this country’s history, stop resting on your laurels and work to deliver world class results. murikuona zvirikuita vamwe here? to quote an old adage, the devil is in the detail. Dot the I’s and cross the T’s. Thats the difference between good and great.

  3. Quality is a word that does not exist in the Econet dictionary. There is no quality in everything they do. 

  4. the U8150 – Ideos is even better, running FroYo (Android 2.2). You can get it from Safaricom, Kenya at an equivalent of $150. I bought it when I was there. Excellent entry level phone with all the bells and whistles typical of a smartphone, and best of all…the Android Market is accessible for all those apps n games easily in Zim.

    So forget those “Inspired to rip your world”, send a relative coming from/going to Kenya, Australia, India, US etc and have them buy a more recent model(U8150) at $150 or less. Companies like the “Riponet” actually champion the digital divide by unfair pricing.

    According to Huawei:

    “We are proud to have already achieved our goal from early 2010 of
    developing a US$150 smartphone with an excellent user experience. The
    IDEOS is an affordable option, designed to lower barriers to entry to
    allow easy mobile Internet access.”

    What surprises me is that Huawei has offices here in Zim and yet they are very slow to respond and supply this smartphone hungry nation.

  5. I just purchased a U8230 and the browser is messing me up as it is just not functioning, I cannot download from the app market neither can i browse, i am currently on the Econet network and have inputed the APN settings, even went to their offices counless times but the built in browser just doesn’t seem to be functioning. i know this is not a huawei site, but any assistance in this regard as to how i can get the browser to function would greatly be appreciated.

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