Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates


Econet launches Econet VoIP

George Barbaressos Speaking at the Launch of Econet VoIP
George Barbaressos Speaking at the Launch of Econet VoIP
Econet Commercial Director, George Barbaressos, speaking at the launch of Econet VoIP

Today, we attended the Econet VoIP launch we wrote about yesterday. We speculated a lot yesterday about what exactly the product is so we’re quite excited to reveal the accurate details today. Those of you that follow us on Twitter received the news in real-time as we heard it in the morning so no new stuff here for them.

First, the service is being offered through the Econet Broadband division but it’s separate from Econet’s mobile broadband services. It’s being pushed by the fixed broadband guys at Econet. Fixed in that it’s not 3G (or Edge, GPRS etc..) but it still offers some WiMax mobility. Remember the mobile WiMax Ecoweb launched 2 years ago that was quietly suspended when Econet came in with 3G?

Presenting at the launch, Econet commercial director, George Barbaressos, admitted that Econet is not the first with VoIP on the market. Internet access providers that already offer VoIP include Gigatel, Telco, PowerTel, Africom, TelOne, Brodacom and just about every Internet Access Provider wishes to. Barbaressos explained however that there are challenges with these current options on the market, chief amoung them being high installation costs, unavailability of lines and poor internet coverage. These are the issues Econet is proposing to address.

The unavailability of lines and coverage are ofcourse two problems they can address quite easily owing to them having the resources to throw at this. We don’t think there really have been high installation costs, and it’s not like we know Econet for coming into any market to lower any costs in terms of service, but let’s see.

On to the actual product offering, there will be two main packages; VoIP @Work and VoIP @Home.

The @Work package will offer either desk IP phones that connect to the Econet broadband network, Virtual (or soft) PBX, or the last option a physical IPBX at the business premises. The idea here is for Econet VoIP to replace your need for fixed lines. Yes, TelOne, we’re talking about you.

The @Home option is something similar only this time you connect via any device that’s connected to the internet like your personal computer, mobile phone, tablet or other such. You will need what they call a SIP client, which are available all over the internet for free (Nimbuzz, Fring, X-Lite are a few examples).

What you will get from Econet when you sign up is a VoIP number in the format 07720*****, and a password that you will need to setup your SIP client. Econet will help set things up for you ofcourse. One good thing here is that Econet VoIP will have its own call center, so hopefully no call center congestion when you run into a wall.

Barbaressos wouldn’t say what the tariffs are, only promising they would be much lower than regular GSM tariffs. We had an opportunity however to look at some tariffs (which seem to have been taken down now) on the Econet VoIP web platform and they looked the same as the other VoIP operators are charging. Some US 6 cents for calls within the network and 12 cents for calls to other providers etc… We weren’t particularly surprised by the lower-than-GSM-but-same-as-other-providers tariffs and quite frankly didn’t expect anything wowing here. That website seems not ready for public viewing by the way, so you’ll find a lot of links not working.

Like any VoIP service, you can use any broadband connection under the sun, even though Econet understandably prefers you buy this together with an Econet broadband package.

On the whole, we think it’s a great service. It will definitely get more ‘landlines’ into offices and homes at a rate the country’s fixed line operator has failed to achieve. It will also lessen the burden on Econet’s GSM and generally help those that can’t get good enough GSM signal where they are with an alternative to communicate.

Econet gave all the people that attended the a free gift, a WiMax dongle (this one). Because we like you (and we would really like to promote our site) we are giving it away as a prize in a random draw we will do of all the comments on this story, here on the site, on Facebook, Twitter and even blog posts that mention this story. We will do the draw at end of day tomorrow. Honestly, we have no idea how much it’s worth now but two years ago Econet was selling it for US $175.

Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

49 thoughts on “Econet launches Econet VoIP

  1. econet=ecocash=ecovoip…i don’t expect mmuch from these guys to be honest, they always struggle to deliver..their mobile broadband esp in mind here…its time they turned their attention jst to perfect wat they offer jst nw instead of saturating the market with highly costed, half-baked products and services…imho!

  2. I applaud Econet for this innovation in the sense that it bridges the gap that TelOne is creating by its failure to execute its mandate. The applaud comes in the sense that no other VOIP operators had used it in this way that Econet has presented it.

    1. NEVER FORGET the FOUNDATION Econet was built upon. Mukoma Strive prayed & fasted 40 days 4 Econet to take off.

  3. come on guys, I believe techzim is trying to be polite on this, there really is nothing innovative about this econet product, its like that join the white tee crew with a red one, thanx for the event econet and crew, we just not amused yet. The point is – thinking about what your competitors are doing. It’s hard to stay on the ‘up-and-up’ when your competition is not playing fair.

      1. I think the best way to answer your question is to wait and see, when you right your next article on the progress of this service, I can almost predict thats what I should put here as a link, that will answer you sir.

  4. This seems like a pretty good service, and good for competition as I always say. Econet should invest heavily in educating the public (corporate and households) on how to go about acquiring and using this service.

  5. Econet is doing a great job in advancing telecommunications industry in Zimbabwe.Keep on pioneering.

  6. With Econet racing ahead I wonder what Telecel and NetOne are doing.Are these two operators just there to make up numbers honestly.In this industry if you don’t step up your game and be innovative you fall by the wayside.Well done to Econet though.

  7. The return of Zimbabwean landlines! How do their tariffs compare with Tel-One, please give us a comparison titore nyika.

  8. will they be able to manage it or its just another want to be the first to provide like they with Edge , GPRS.

  9. Now I understand why some corporate in my area was prep-ing its phones, just promising that all landlines will be back in the next weeks…………..and guess……..they just had a transmitter installed 100 metres from their offices (but it is one of those not yet turned on masts) cluck cluck, I bet, as a positive externality, we will now receive better GSM and edge signal and use my fring.

  10. Had thought we were going to have it on smart phones cheaper. I guess you can still use Nimbuzz and friends for that asi econet data inodhura. Thanks for the update guys!

  11. voip, cdma about the same price for now? I will stick to mobile skype, whatsApp, free mms, BiNu (+free sms), nimbuzz and eBuddy at home. unless I win the gadget – of coz!

  12. I am reluctant to shower Econet with praises like everyone else is doing. My reasons are, Econet has not given us the savings in black and white for us to take our hats off, we might as well shower praises to every other VOIP provider. Number 2, Econet is silent on them being able to handle the increased demand on their data network, in Voip the number of calls that can be handled at a given time are related to bandwidth, question is does Econet have the capacity to handle this let alone do we have reliable connections to support VOIP especially with an increase in users. For a business this is a critical concern. If these issues are not addresed, it remains risky to jump onto the wagon, bad voice quality on VOIP is a reality and can do more harm than good. 3. My take is its too early to shower praises especially when what matters most is still hazy – PRICING. It would be intresting to note what their tarrif from an Econet Voip Client to another Econet Voip client will be. Will it be cheaper if you an Econet Voip client calling another Econet voip client on Econet network or possibly FREE! This might be the game breaker.

  13. if only they wouldn’t be so extortionate in their pricing! but seriously, thanx Econet, they have a way of doing the same thing as everyone else but still doing it much much better always, even where bags of money isn’t the issue.

  14. I maybe wrong, but right now to add zest to any VOIP product, you need to lower the charge. Also, ZESA being ZESA, how does the landline “perform” when there’s no ZESA.

  15. Econet needs to develop its own Econet branded SIP Client for this service otherwise they will confuse a lot of people, nice move though.

  16. Thank you for the insightful coverage of the launch, and the commentary is enlightening too. continue the good work. Thumbs up to Econet too for the continued forays toward advancing the nation’s telecom’s industry, here’s hoping for a lowering of the service tariffs.

  17. Unbelievable that a global company like Econet would say we are lauching voip when infact its simply a copy/paste of Norfa technology and even website ( save for the change in name from Norfa to Econet- can they get more lazy than that? shame on you Econet, where is the spirit or was it that u felt left behind in the voip market!

    1. they didn’t just “copy and paste” and Norfa technology. They simply bought a complete solution like every provider would do. Nothing wrong with that. Slight (and embarrassing) problem is they ‘forgot’ to fullyl customise the pages to read Econet everywhere.

      1. @Soul:disqus , i agree but thats expected of small companies without resources and capital.surely econet can create their own custom made platform/solution.i dont see how this is their product. its closer to a franchise

        1. @Edison:disqus  Such work is normally best left to specialist companies like SysMaster. Econet trying to innovate & develop the next best VoIP billing system under the sun would just be a waste of resources. 
          If you were Econet, why would you spend time and lots of money developing something that you can buy off the shelve and touch the ground running with.

          1. Soul – u pay them to develop a solution for you and yr clients. there has to be an element of customisation and tweaks to reflect the market and its needs. it cannot be an an off the shelf thing like a payroll software. thats where i have a prob with them. that website is not easy to navigate nor use. it offers nothing in term sof information that peeps in econets zim clinets need or want to see, lets wait and see then

          2.  Typical in-competitive mindset Mr Kabweza.

            Exactly what gets Zim lagging on the tech front.

            MTN Spent 4 years working on their billing system and they got it right now its even used by the JHB Town council.

            Yes dont waste time innovating if your company is full of dumb heads so incompetitive they look to get templates and ready made stuff. Pathetic!

  18. Guys u can still use smartphones u just download and install just about any free SIP client from the hundredss that are available for your specific phone it works pretty much the same way skype does.

    1. Good move but the quality still sucks.VoIP is very bandwidth sensitive.Unlike data where you can re-transmit packets for voice you cant do that and have a good covenrsation.

      3 things to look when VoIP latency , jitter and packet loss.
      Latency – time it takes for packets to reach their destination.
      Jitter – they way packets vary in their arrive.Packet loss
      Packets lost in transit and this is a pain if unchecked.But with time the service will mature just like in developed countries

  19. I hope u don’t have to pay twice, as in, you pay for the data, and then on top of that you pay for the VOIP. U should buy the VOIP with the data as a package, JMHO.

  20. this really is good work hope other service providers will follow the same route in the near future.

      1. @8103026806d7c467ed50e3f82ea2396c:disqus  this is a way of transimitting voice over the internet protocol and is cheap considering that it uses broadband

        1. @9c64532921a9daf8083fd27dbbda8397:disqus Cheap is relative, you are forgetting the cost of data which you still
          have to bear. This might be convenient but definately not cheap when yuo
          add up the figures

  21. @9c64532921a9daf8083fd27dbbda8397:disqus Cheap is relative, you are forgetting the cost of data which you still have to bear. This might be convenient but definately not cheap when yuo add up the figures

  22. If you are in business a VoIP phone system is a great solution to your communication problems. Many firms find that the cost of their phone systems represents a significant proportion of their overheads. Therefore, if they can find a way of keeping these costs low they can often become far more profitable.
    If you are in business a VoIP phone system is a great solution to your communication problems. Many firms find that the cost of their phone systems represents a significant proportion of their overheads. Therefore, if they can find a way of keeping these costs low they can often become far more profitable.

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