In the latest salvo of the mobile network subscriber battle Econet sent the following sms to their subscribers: “As part of our 14th anniversary celebrations we have reduced international rates to $0.24/min to major destinations. Enjoy the lowest international rates”. They have also flighted print ads to that effect. Judging by the flags highlighted in their print ads by major destinations Econet means: the United Kingdom, South Africa, the USA, China and Canada. The reduced rates apply to calls for both fixed and mobile phones.
Comparing with the previous rates, tariffs to Canada and the USA have dropped by a minor 2c/minute for both fixed and mobile. South Africa and the United Kingdom register a more significant drop of 9c/minute and 24c/minute (27% and 50%) for fixed and mobile respectively. If you call China often you will enjoy a significant 50% saving of 24c/minute on both platforms. Tariffs for the Southern African region fall by an average of 9c/minute.
Here is the full table of tariff changes :
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The comprehensive schedule is provided here on the Econet website. The promotional rates notably do not apply for calls to South African MTN mobile numbers which are charged at 32c/minute. Based on the tariffs listed on their websites, Econet’s competitors Netone and Telecel are not as attractive, with NetOne for example listing their UK rates at between 40c-49c/ minute. Telecel’s international tariffs are summarised in the table below:
However if you use a Telecel line you know that for a while they have been offering international tariffs cheaper than those listed above with, for example calls to South Africa charged at about 25c/minute, so it is highly likely that they have not updated their website accordingly. Our attempts to get comment and confirmation regarding rates from Telecel and Netone despite assurances that they would be provided did not yield anything.
Econet’s promotion is advertised as effective for August-October 2012 but based on the trend in the telecoms industry once prices go down during a promotion the gravity of consumer affinity to the lower price tends to keep it there.
Last month NetOne ran a promotion called “A Dollar a Day” which allowed subscribers to make unlimited voice calls to other NetOne subscribers for $1 a day. Netone through it’s managing director claims the promotion brought it 200,000 new subscribers. In a Sunday Mail interview Reward Kangai NetOne’s MD is quoted as saying: “We have over 1, 7 million active subscribers and the promotion I talked about (the dollar a day promo) has generated over 200 000 more (subscribers) and this figure is still growing.” Telecel on the other hand recently surpassed 2 million subscribers and on the 3rd of August held a corporate function to celebrate this milestone. We eagerly await POTRAZ stats to see the impact of these various promotions and the authenticity of claims being made.
Group 1 (includes): Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, Malwai. Group 2: Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia
Image credit: Econet Website