Of the three mobile operators in Zimbabwe, government owned NetOne is the only company that has been selling its internet service at a simple to understand flat US 7 cents per megabyte for all subscribers. That has changed today. The company announced the introduction of data bundles today via adverts published in the print press.
For subscribers, the bundles will make possible an oranges-to-oranges comparison with the other mobile operators and, NetOne hopes, by offering lower rates on the bundled internet, subscribers can commit and buy more internet at a time which will in turn drive up usage and revenues.
Here are the new bundle prices:
|Bundle size||Price||Price per megabyte|
|70 MB||$ 3||4 cents|
|125 MB||$ 5||4 cents|
|285 MB||$ 10||4 cents|
|670 MB||$ 20||3 cents|
|1 GB||$ 30||3 cents|
|2 GB||$ 50||3 cents|
The bundles are only accessible to subscribers on NetOne’s EasyCall prepaid package and can (for now at least according to a source at NetOne) only be bought via recharge cards the same way subscribers buy airtime at NetOne shops or from informal street vendors. This is an expensive option for the company as they could have just offered a USSD menu to allow users to convert regular airtime to bundles. We’re guessing it’s a billing system limitation and that the option will come down the road. Another option that would cut costs for the company, and have spinoff of driving its mobile money service adoption, is to make bundles buyable via its OneWallet MMT service.
The out of bundle price remains the same at 7 cents a megabyte, which is significantly lower than Econet and Telecel who charge 15 cents and 11 cents per megabyte respectively. This is important because when you don’t buy bundles you automatically use the out-of-bundle price. It effectively makes NetOne’s service the lowest priced internet out-of-bundle.
We’ll be posting a separate article on the actual comparison of the bundles later (Update: here). It’s also important to note here that even though we’re talking about GSM mobile operators only here, there are other data licensed providers that also offer mobile broadband services on the market like Africom and PowerTel. The only difference is the technology and size of mobile broadband market they have been able to get so far.
NetOne introduced mobile broadband services in 2011.