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ZOL slashes Wi-Fi hotspot prices. Discontinues free minutes

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ZOLspot Internet to goZimbabwe Online (ZOL), the ISP that has the largest number of Wi-Fi hotspots in Zimbabwe, has slashed the prices of its Wi-Fi internet service. The service has effectively become one of the lowest priced internet packages in the country. But the slash is coming with some not so good news; ZOL is killing the 15 minutes free trial it offered customers on its ZOLspots (ZOL hotspots).

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The price slash basically introduces a number of ZOLspot account packages giving users data bundles based on a monthly or annual fee they pay.

Here’s a screenshot of the new packages:

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As shown in the image above, users needing more than their allocated data for the month data will use scratch cards to top up. The price per megabyte on the scratch cards will vary depending on the amount of data bought; basically the price reduces as the bundle gets bigger. The lowest data bundle, 100MB is priced at US $5 (5 cents per MB) and the largest, 4G, costs $100 (2.5 cents per MB). In comparison, the lowest price per MB on the old pricing was 7.3 cents.

The price drop is quite significant and competitive. The monthly price for 1GB for example is slightly lower than Africom’s mobile broadband 1GB bundle, which has become a favourite locally with home users and SMEs. But it’s still unfair to compare the two as one is meant to be a mobile on the go connection (Africom) and the other, just secondary connectivity when, say, eating out.

Interestingly though, ZOLspots were more than just a secondary connection. For many people in general and youths bootstrapping one man web and mobile startups in particular, ZOLspots had become their primary connection and they took full advantage of the free 15 minutes. Some to the extent of hacking the hotspots to get free 15 minutes bits of internet the whole day. This no doubt contributed to ZOL’s decision to discontinue it.

ZOL has more than 85 Wi-Fi hotspots in Harare, Mutare and Bulawayo. In January this year the company joined the Econet family after it was acquired by an Econet subsidiary, Liquid Telecom. Econet is the largest mobile operator in Zimbabwe. Liquid Telecom has the largest optic fibre footprint in the country (and the region too) and ZOL the one of the largest consumer facing broadband internet providers in the country.


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22 thoughts on “ZOL slashes Wi-Fi hotspot prices. Discontinues free minutes

    1. The free minutes were only cancelled due to the illegal abuse by a few individuals who ruined it for others.

  1. While ZOL will appeal to those who rely on wifi for connectivity, I am curious though, how is Telecel internet these days seeing that their ads are emblazoned all over techzim’s site? Has their connectivity improved at all or its still as woeful as before?

    1.  Telecel internet is very very expensive. though the prices of data are lower than their cimpetitors, the time it takes to chew up your data is very shocking. Just $1 of telecel (both airtime and data bundle) will nto last me 20min on my android, even while I am not downloading…I have had to go back to econet.

  2. I think this is a good thing for Internet proliferation in the country unlike other providers loosely using the term broadband this is the real deal at very attractive pricing too, hats of to them terrific stuff

  3. I am not impressed. You are just mentioning tariffs. Last time i checked, to have ZOL set-up at home or company internet access meant buying equipment that cost over US$1500. Has that gone down too?

    And since they are now part of Liquid/Econet, has their coverage grown?

    Because last time i checked they offered fixed internet access within a radius of 5 km from their offices outside Harare.

    I also would also like to know just what the speeds of these packages are because even Powertel advertises unlimited internet which you will be lucky to open even one 10kb page per month.

    1. I’m not affiliated with ZOL my remarks are entirely independent, from your comment it’s clear you have not understood the context of the revamped ZOL WIFI i repeat WIFI. Hot spots are postioned all over and ZOL happens to have the largest number, this has absolutely nothing to do other services they offer if you want their product installed at a particular location there is a cost involved yes but this particular product is not that, it’s readily available as long as you have a device that connects to a WIFI network.

    2.  ZOL installation is currently at $395 for equipment according to their website. it has been like that for a while.

      1. I went to the ZOL website and i tell you, their charges are over US$1500. You are talking of installation and maybe that is what it $395, the installation fee. otherwise the equipment costs over US$1500. On their website there is a PDF file they let you download with these charges. It would help if you can post a link to that information on their website.

    3. I don’t know where you’ve been considering “last time i checked they offered fixed internet access within a radius of 5 km from their offices outside Harare.” If you didn’t know, Mutare and Bulawayo are way past the 5km radius. And you obviously never utilised the free 15minutes otherwise you would have an idea of the speeds. That being said, where’s “yeah yeah same ol’ same ol'” coming from? Don’t be so quick to put down what you don’t have enough information on.

      1. Next time you want to attack people, dont just assume you know them. It would help you to be neutral and just state facts.

        What do you mean

        If you didn’t know, Mutare and Bulawayo are way past the 5km radius.

        You make the assumption that everyone, including myself, visits Techzim from Harare and “obviously”, in your thinking, Bulawayo and Mutare are way past 5km radius. Zimbabwe is bigger than Harare.

        You are not the only person who has commonsense and can differentiate between 5 km and 1000 km.

        Anyway, for your own information:

        I went to the ZOL offices in a city outside Harare and they told me their network only reaches up to 5km from their office.

        So where is you “way past 5 km”?

        Better still, you can visit their offices or stand during ZITF and find out.

        And you obviously never utilised the free 15 minutes otherwise you would have an idea of the speeds.

        In your own words “Don’t be so quick to put down what you don’t have enough information on.”

        I have used ZOL free minutes. In the CBD alone, ZOL had 1 hour of free WIFI minutes, if you cared to roam around hotspot to hotspot in the earlier days if i remember very well. You had one hotel and 3 cafes offering ZOL wifi.

        So dont just write convoluted mambo jumbo. Write facts about the product rather than attack people who have the facts. It is boring enough as it is to respond to your outbursts.

    4. Wi-Fi is built into pretty much any equipment you buy these days (cell phone or laptop).  So there is no setup fee!

      1. If indeed you are the CEO of ZOL, well, i went to one of your branches and i was told ZOL coverage is only 5km from their offices. I wanted fixed internet. I stayed, at the time, more than 5 km from where ZOL is. So, since ZOL is now part of Liquid/Econet, i wanted to know, with the kind of reach Liquid/Econet broadband has, whether ZOL coverage has now increased too, and beyond just those 5km.

        I have used ZOL wife at hotspots before, and within CBD on a fixed subscriber connection.

        1. haha “I have used ZOL wife at hotspots before” didnt see that one!! I meant it to read:

          “I have used ZOL WIFI at hotspots before”

          …. ZOL wife …. 🙂 ha! ha!

  4. This was seen coming a mile away when Econet bought them over, when does Econet give you anything free.

    No big loss anyway as Telco is now offering free 15 mins with the exact same speeds.

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