Econet slashing some Buddie tariffs by as much as 80%

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar
Econet Buddie Zone rates

Econet Buddie Zone ratesYou’ve probably heard that Econet is trialing some ultra-low cost voice rates for its Buddie customers. It’s true. A new – but not yet launched officially – Econet voice promo called Buddie Zone is giving subscribers tariff discounts of up to 80% on voice calls even during peak time. We tried contacting the Econet PR people but couldn’t reach them with our calls going unanswered.

Information from other sources though suggests that the service has been running for a number weeks but was designed to be limited to only a number of subscribers in specific areas. One of those areas is Chitungwiza, a dormitory town on the outskirts of the Zimbabwe’s capital city. We’re told the service can however be enabled on any Buddie SIM card by dialing the USSD code *137# and registering.

We did this ourselves on a Buddie SIM card and indeed, calls are much much cheaper. From what we observed, depending on the base station a subscriber is connected to voice calls are discounted by as much as 80%. A call we made from the Avenues area in Harare for example was discounted by that rate. Some calls are discounted for 20%, 30% and so on. the subscriber is advised of the discount in effect as soon as the call starts connecting. The discount of-course only applies to calls within the Econet network.  The regular rate is US 23 cents per minute. We’re told off peak calls are being discounted by as much as 99% in some areas.

Econet has not announced the promo officially but subscribers are wising up to it thanks to the news about the steep savings spreading virally especially on Facebook.

The regular Buddie Zone is accessed via USSD code *146*100# and dialing it doesn’t brings up a different USSD menu.

The move is no doubt a response to voice rates promotions by Econet’s competition, especially NetOne. In July this year, NetOne introduced a Dollar a Day promotion that allowed its subscribers to make unlimited on-net calls for just a dollar a day. In August, NetOne announced they had signed up as much as 200,000 new subscribers to their network thanks to the promo.


  1. Richard Chinyenze

    this was long over due

    1. Gari

      This product was long over due in Zimbabwe. MTN launched this product around 2009. The product also came as standard on 8.ta . Airtel launched the same product sometime so as many other operators.

      The product is coming as a standard with vendors such ZTE or Huawei ( Though a licence applies).

      This product im sure will give econet an added advantage. It was high time econet for econet to reward its customers.

  2. Raymond Swart

    What is the point of this, not complaining but wondering what the method behind the madness is

    1. L.S.M. Kabweza

      it’ll be very interesting to find out how they determine how much discount a caller gets

      1. tinm@n

        perhaps call frequency.

        or…maybe they did it for you knowing that you’d happily report it (shrug)


        It’s a welcome change anyways.

      2. James Ritala

        I don’t claim to know fully in detail how it works but i have a theory… I found out that calling someone within the Harare CBD got me a range of 97% to 99% discounts depending on how far they were from me? Calling someone outside the CBD while I was in the CBD got me 80% discount… I think their algorithm uses the number of Base Station(s) involved in connecting a call or the congestion level on that base Station as mentioned by vbrundx above.
        Surely if it requires switching between 4 base stations to connect you, then it should cost more to call than if you need just one base station to connect a call….Just my thoughts

  3. Magneto

    Innovation – I like the sound of it!

    1. fiend

      erm…that isnt innovation.lolzz

  4. CLMD

    They are discounting calls to push up usage of base stations. A base station has an average fixed cost to it, whether calls are made or not. Hence it is in econet’s advatnage to “entice” users to make more calls in places where there is low usage of base stations.
    I noticed when travelling around that my phone would change discount depending on the area i am located in, which must be base station related.

    Its probably a marketing tool to make users call more, similiar to how supermarkets price products at ‘$x.99’ giving the appearance of a bargain. Look-up ‘psychological pricing’ for more information.

    1. Blaz James

      Nice observation

  5. Hox

    the highest i received was 90%

  6. vbrundx

    This is already implemented in Botswana ( Mascom,Orange and Bmobile) and i am sure other countries. The discount is determined by the usage of a particular base station. Base stations which are congested have lower discounts and those with low usage higher discounts. To access these discount you have to opt-in first, as explained in example in article

  7. mudn

    i got a 99% discount yesterday and today 97%

  8. Sadombo

    its a welcome move by Econet, it was long over due!

  9. tnash

    im not sure tht it does use base stations. I made a call the other night and got an 80% discount, while my friend right next to me got 30% discount. A few minutes late the discount rates changed. i have no idea how it works but if i could make a guess i would say it random.

  10. ic0n1c

    Last night got a 99% discount (thats 0.23 cents per minute) talked for half an hour for about 7 cents

  11. digoz

    my handset keeps on displaying 50% everyday on buddie zone.Why is it ,it doesn’t changes like what others do?

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