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Africom finally kills off the loss leading $18 bundle

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In October 2010, Africom made a bold unprecedented move in the history of the internet in Zimbabwe. Fresh from the launch of its new red brand and mobile broadband services, the company announced the pricing of its data packages; the cost of a 1 gigabyte bundle was US $18. It was crazy. It was fantastic for the customers. We celebrated. For the first time in Zimbabwe, here was a company that understood that the internet was not a luxury for rich.

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To put this in context, the competition, Econet at the time, was charging $98 for a 1 gigabyte bundle. We commended Africom for the move. The rich ISPs, the ZOLs and YOs and iWays didn’t like it a single bit, and they whined about it. The competition basically said it was unsustainable and that the model would crash soon. It didn’t. For one year at least it didn’t. And we all happily browsed the net.

But the boardroom squabbles started.  And when they did, the writing was on the wall; the $18 Gig would go soon enough. Despite claims by Africom staff that the company could sustain it, we all knew it was a loss leader and it needed to drive adoption of the service fast so the company could make revenue from the 11 cents per megabyte out-of-bundle service.

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It didn’t.  And it was mostly Africom’s fault; they let people buy multiple first bundles so there was really never any need for a customer to use the out-of-bundle service.

So, yes. It did crash.

Africom announced last night they are upping the price from $18 to $25 for the first gigabyte, a package they call MiChoice. To compensate for this they’ll reduce the out-of-bundle price from 11 cents per megabyte to 5 cents. In the following SMS they sent out to subscribers, they made it sound like this means lower prices for customers. It does not. And doesn’t need to; Africom needs to make money.

Africom has slashed the price of the commercial data rate from $0.11c per megabyte to $0.05c. This low rate can be accessed when the first contractual data bundle (1 Gig or any as per your contract) has been exhausted. To enhance your value, please note also that the price for MiChoice 1 Gig will now change from $18 to $25 including VAT. These changes are with effect from 6 February 2012.

For very low usage customers this is still an ok deal. It’s still the lowest priced first gigabyte on the market. But for 2 gigabytes-going-up usage customers, choosing Africom is not the no-brainer it used to be. Brodacom, YoAfrica, Aptics and ZOL all offer ‘unlimited’ one user mobile broadband packages in the range of $50 a month. 5 cents per MB is also in the same range mobile operators Telecel and NetOne are selling some of their packages.

As other operators slash prices, Africom is upping them.


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11 thoughts on “Africom finally kills off the loss leading $18 bundle

  1. That is the problem with the Harare companies. They all just
    want to stick to the central business districts of the Big 4 cities, especially
    Harare. I have friends at Africom outside Harare and I still find no need to
    buy or use their stuff, even for free! It has limited range in several cities
    that it was pointless to offer cheap broadband. Perhaps in Harare it does work.
    Recently one told me about their VOIP product which charged US$0.06 per minutes,
    less than a standard SMS. But then again, can you imagine telling your friends how
    cheap it is, only to find out that you can only call your friends at that price
    only if they are within the CBD or within 10 km range from Africom offices at the
    time of making the Africom VOIP call. This is one reason why we need each city
    to have its own local ISP dominating the business there. At least if a Mutare
    ISP that is in Mutare to stay offers VOIP services there, it will fight to make
    sure every inch of the city is covered. Unlike with these Harare boys who just
    want to get profits from there and stash them in Harare banks.

  2. Us low users still find it worth buying the one gig ya they will lose out on the higher users and will have to make a plan in that regard

  3. The only problem with africom has been the inability to access internet in the past two days. The agency shop said new products are going to be announced next week but surely should new product launches make existing products not work? I cant wait for the new products. 

    Also whenever one accesses their website http://www.afri-com.com you realise there is very old content especially on news and events and some links especially under contact us have nothing

  4. i for one want to pay for internet that works and thats the reason why i will pay $25 for 1GB of Data on Africom. these ISPs that tell you that you will get $50 unlimited bandwidth i hv tried and you can get good speeds at night. am i supposed kunyangira internet and get it in the still of the night like a thief? i will stick to Africom for now. will not cry over a $7 increase. i welcome the out of bundle cost of 5c / MB. 

    I also dont really see those that have been using Africom crossing floors for the simple reason that one has to purchase a new access device. you are better off sticking to your current provider. 🙂 (not advertising for africom here)

    What the network needs to do is to get a really strong investor and spread their coverage. crappy service in Bulawayo where they say they have coverage. was there last week.. and your guess is right i could not get a connection even in the CBD.

    in teh meantime, viva Africom unless some player come along with some “revolutionary” offering like free Modem and first month free or something like that…

  5. Africom’s strategy to undercut everybody body else was just shrewd business acumen in order to build a voluminous customer base and then yank-up prices gradually over time. Can you blame them for that? No! But they may not have executed product delivery well enough to gain from that initial strategy given the embarrassing and very public corporate squabbles. Typical Zimbos, never could agree on anything by always envious, petty jealousies and wrangling until kingdom come. No wonder professionalism is now a foreign word in our business environment and degradation of ‘doing things the right way’ value system.


  6. As other operators slash prices, Africom is upping them” This is very unfair on them. 

  7.   this is my own opinion. techzim is full of nonsense. you guys dont now
    what your doing. you are no different from herald or dailynews. you are
    always reporting negetive stuff about tech companies, and how things
    should work. your do not have no love for this countries tech companies.
    f you really have faith in this countries tech companies, y is your
    website hosted outside Zim. you guys are full of bull crap…. this
    website is all about negativity….. a real techy wouldn’t tolerate this
    nonsense. we want tech news, not some silly blogging.. be real

      1. Kabweza, i think it is nice when people see stuff like this. Rather than when it is deleted and people dont see it, and (2) then you punish the innocents by moving the content system from Disqus to Facebook. i am happy so far. From what i know, people skip what they dont like to read in comments and will even block it out. Bravo for just deleting the words. Now even Masimba responds below. One blog i know has over 10 000 daily visitors and only one person was being a nuisance. People naturally blocked reading anything hew wrote. The blog is still very successful, attracting as many as 200 comments at a time, and yet run by one person. Negative angry comments will not stop bona fide visitors from suing the site, commenters can only go up. Some will just read and move on. Thumbs up.

    1. You not making any sense you idiot. And Kabweza is not making sense tolerating and thanking idiots like you. 
      I’ll do Kabweza job for him and tell you stay the fuck off Techzim if you really believe what you’re saying. Fuck u mhan. 

      And just to prove your lame “always reporting negetive stuff about tech companies” statemnt wrong, lets check please list the last 30 stories they have written.- Never run out of airtime with Telecel (positive)- Estimating the number of Facebook users in Zimbabwe (positive)- Kubatana maps Typhoid affected areas from crowd sourced info (positive)- Google cars to start Street Viewing Botswana (positive)- 30,000 Google Plus users in Zimbabwe (positive)- Africom abandons afri-com.com domain to be used for adult content (negative)- Africa: The era of collaborative consumption has arrived (positive)- The ‘dollar for 2′ Telecel SIM cards (positive)- A “How not to launch an internet based product” lesson from Econet (negative)- Africom finally kills off the loss leading $18 bundle (positive but snarky)- Highlights from the Telecel re-branding press conference (positive)- Press Release: Telecel Zimbabwe rebrands (positive)- Apps4Africa Climate Challenge for Southern Africa begins today (positive)- No prizes for guessing (positive)- Africa Exchange to facilitate Government/ICT private sector event (positive)- Econet Wireless Group triumphs in Nigeria (positive)- How much the price of internet connectivity can reduce in one year (positive)- Alpha Media and iWay to host Stafford Masie at breakfast meeting (positive)- Econet launches Econet VoIP (positive)- Mobile Penetration in Zimbabwe (2006 – 2011) (positive)- Econet Wireless Zimbabwe to launch VoIP (positive)- Launch of the new red Telecel was planned for Valentine’s Day (positive)- Google’s “Don’t be evil” put to test with Search+ (positive)- Our experience migrating from Disqus to Facebook comments (positive)- Telecel Zimbabwe rebranding (positive)- Exclusive: Liquid Telecom acquires Zimbabwean ISP, ZOL (positive)- How to use Paypal in Zimbabwe without a Paypal account (positive)- The internet goes on Strike: Wikipedia blacks out (positive)- Introducing the JumpStart initiative, inaugural event (positive)- My journey to Wedza. An experience with technology in rural Zimbabwe (positive)27 positive. 3 negative. negative because 2 big companies did 2 very big stupid things. The correct thing to say is Kabweza is biased towards positive stuff and doesn’t tell us all the negative stuff going on. Fuck you mhani

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