Telecel reports Econet to POTRAZ for throttling Telecel voice calls

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar

TelecelA report in the NewsDay today says Telecel has reported Econet to the Zim telecommunications regulator, POTRAZ, allegedly for unfair business practices relating to not neutrally allowing calls from Telecel subscribers through to the Econet network. Before the report, some Telecel anonymous sources had indicated to the press (including us) that Econet is throttling calls from their network.

According to sources at Telecel that contacted us over the weekend, Econet is deliberately throttling calls in a bid to sabotage an ongoing Telecel promotions that allows Telecel subscribers to call any network in Zimbabwe at a 50% discounted tariff. The promotion, which is called Mega Bonus Reloaded, was launched in June.

We contacted Econet about the matter and they still haven’t responded since Monday. The allegation however is a quite serious and, if proven, indeed criminal. Section 91 (1) (b) of the Zimbabwe Postal and Telecommunications Act (Chapter 12:05) says:

Any employee of a telecommunication licensee or a cellular telecommunication licensee who willfully mistimes, intercepts or prevents the transmission of a communication shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level seven or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or to both such fine and such imprisonment

If true, the move by Econet would be both foolish in terms of the law, and also foolish business wise. In Zimbabwe the interconnection fee for off-net calls is US 7 cents a minute, which means Econet collects 7 cents from Telecel for every minute that a Telecel subscribers calls the Econet network. Effectively, this means for Mega Bonus Reloaded calls, Econet makes more money than Telecel per call. It would therefore make no business sense to block these calls. As a shareholder I’d be very mad at Econet right now if this were true.

But some also say Econet is bleeding subscribers seriously and this is an effort to stem subscriber churn. The theory goes that throttling Telecel – Econet calls will result in increased Econet – Econet calls, which make Econet much more money (24 cents a minute) than the calls from Telecel. But even if this were the case, the trouble with the law is just not worth it!


  1. Zig Ziglar

    Yes I noted this issue from last week and I wrote a shot blog post about it on Sunday. Econet is pathetic and they should up their game soon or lose clients. I hope they are found guilty and pay a huge fine.. If POTRAZ is really effective. You can check the post I wrote on Sunday about the issue here

  2. suri suri

    Typical Bullish, sabotive behavior from an organisation that once prided themselves for championing freedom of information and customer rights…So Shameful indeed

    1. inini

      Too bad u r concluding on issue which is not true in terms of wats happening in terms of the cause.

  3. spencer

    any evidence to that or just one of those many baseless complaints from the small operators against the dominant operator becoz their promotion has not yielded anticipated traffic levels. I hold a Telecel line i havent yet faced this challenge

    1. Telecel_User

      I have a Telecel line and from anywhere in the country I have to try 3 to 4 times for my call to my econet number to get through, so yeah Econet IS throttling calls.

      1. spencer

        if thats whats happening does it mean Econet is throttling your calls, have you thot of the infrastructure can the channels handle the doubling of traffic as a result of the promotion

        1. yowe

          asi ndiwe Spencer Banda? coz haufungi!

          1. spencer

            kusadzidza ndokunokunetsa

    2. Daniel

      Spencer I doubt if you have a Telecel line, even if u have it, I doubt if u are using it. Even my 5 year sold son noticed it

    3. Ndaba Sibanda

      Spencer you are talking rubbish.Shut up.

  4. anonymous

    Its tru i have been tryng to kol econet lines using my telecel line bt culdnt get thru.Econet must grow up and get competetive not to sabotage others.That was a gret deal from Telecel mega reloaded.

  5. spencer

    It does not make economic sense for Econet to block Telecel`s calls to
    their network remeber there is something called interconnection charges,
    the more traffic to their network the more revenue they receive in
    interconnection charges from Telecel ie 7c per call. Econet has always
    been and will always be a net receiver of interconnection revenues which
    is why they were the first company to rush and interconnect with VoIP
    when others were resisting. Econet wants that revenue and they wldnt
    block it, we await the evidence IF ANY. Otherwise Telecel just thot by
    cutting tariffs by half across networks their traffic wl double and this
    has not materialised

    1. Tapiwa ✔

      It would therefore make no business sense to block these calls

      It makes a lot of economic sense, even if they stand to lose the 7c/min interconnection revenue. For all we know, it might be a calculated gambit where they sacrifice the immediate income in exchange of making Telecel’s promotion less popular and possibly stunting Telecel’s growth, which is the whole point of the promotion. Making Telecel-Econet calls frustrating has the direct effect of making the promotion less attractive than it could be. That’s definitely worth something to Econet. Is it worth the lost revenue? I can only speculate.

      1. spencer

        thats another side of the coin, its another possibility

    2. Daniel

      “Otherwise Telecel just thot by
      cutting tariffs by half across networks their traffic wl double and this
      has not materialised”

      Who told you that this hasnt materialised? I am using Telecel and its calls to Econet are definately throttled, I called them and they wouldnt even blame Teecel as they used to do but just said ” we will look into it”

      1. spencer

        Reread my post , when i said this “hasnt materialised” i wasnt toking abt calls not getting through, and my debate was neva abt whether calls r getting through, dont jump on pple`s post if you dont understand what they are talking about

        1. Daniel

          Well how can you prove that “this hasn’t materialised”? What is your source

  6. Time

    Pitty POTRAZ will probably take as long as Econet wants to actually investigate this. Lets remember in Africa, money is power, and Econet has a lot of it…

  7. Hacha Ndizvo

    Cry babies. They want to use Econet’s infrastructure to promote their own growth – whats in it for Econet? Telecel should promote its products using its own network – why do they need Econet?

    1. hacha idofo

      Whats in it for Econet? quote “7 cents per minute”. Hauna kuita comprehension kuchikoro iwe. Nyatsoverenga wozo tanga kupenga wanzwisisa.

      1. Hacha Ndizvo

        Dofo ndiwe. Who would trade a customer of ten years for 7 cents. Yuo have no vision and will never be a business person. Telecel can keep their 7 cents and Econet can keep its customers. Your problem is that you believe anything written by these reporters forgetting that they received very little education just like you.

  8. Time

    Oh my….TechZim has deleted a comment of mine that wasn’t too kind to Econet…come on TZ, I thought you weren’t part of their gang but I guess since they are your main sponsor you have to suck up to them like little girls.

    Please don’t delete this comment too, unless you really are afraid of Econet and have lost all of your integrity in journalism. #Dissapointed

    1. L.S.M. Kabweza

      Dude, here’s the deal.
      We don’t remove any comment unless there’s foul language against someone or any company. And even then, most times we just take out the cursing and leave the rest of the comment intact. Disqus also watches out for foul language and I’m guessing the comment you’re claiming was deleted is actually in our spam pending list. We’ll review it and probably ham it but don’t go frothing at the mouth accusing us of bias without an understanding of how this works.

      1. Tabos

        Good response there Kabweza. Lets keep this great blog as clean as possible.

  9. spencer

    if can not make an intellectual debate get off people`s posts, do we have to have the same opinion? put your opinion across in a non deragotory manner take a leaf from tapiwa on this forum.

  10. Robert Ndlovu

    Ok lets clear some facts before people uninformed conclusions.Telecel launched a promo which saw them pushing up their client base and traffic withinin their netwwork and beyond their network.Most people in Zim have more than 1 SIM card.So after this promotion those Econet and Telecel service would rather use Telecel SIM that charged 12 per minute versus 24 cents per minute.Now providers are interconnecr via E1 trunks (30 channels).There is what is called call completion rate which a parameter used by service providers to evaluate how many calls go through and how many dont.So out of a 100 you may get only 30 calls going through which is 30% call completion.What I suspect is that Econet is “bmping” calls from Telecel since call completion rates are very low.I conducted tests in the last 4 days and I can assure you that completion rates are lower than what they were 3 weeks ago.Econet are BIIG brothers who are now cry babies.

    1. bob ndlovu

      va ndlovu, mango pamha zviri mu article. mune nguva yekutambisa imi.

  11. jacobian

    between two networks there is an link. normally this link is used at more than 80% utilisation. to maintain unused capacity is expensive, so if telecel did not increase the interconnet link capacity in anticipation of increased traffic due to their promotion then they have no one to blame but themselves

  12. Marwadzo Kufirakureva

    “Econet inspired
    to bully everyone”

    I have noticed a growing and
    festering trend with Econet Wireless it seems that their size has gotten to
    their heads and they are now playing false with their own customers as well as
    those from other networks trying to connect to their network. Their brazen
    disregard of their own subscribers as well as those trying to connect on their
    network in the face of their recent official Facebook announcement that says they
    have disconnected Telecel because they do not have a valid licence makes for
    sad reading,

    My take is that Econet are
    uncomfortable playing on a level field and they have decided to use the licence
    issue to hide their real intention, setting up a telecoms monopoly with no real
    healthy competition so that they can charge ridiculous tariffs.

    POTRAZ, Postal and Telecommunications
    Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, needs to smell the coffee and move in with
    the necessary force to call Econet out and remind them that there is only one
    regulator. Econet’s continued arrogance flies in the face of POTRAZ’s mandate
    and pay-off line, “creating a level playing field”. This direct challenge cannot
    go unpunished.

    After a lot of soul searching I have
    finally reached the conclusion that a traceable trend is emerging and festering
    like a cancerous wound. Econet doesn’t play fair despite their oft repeated
    mantra “Inspired to change your world”, somewhere along the line they have
    disconnected, pardon the pan, from their Christian, customer-centric values and
    have morphed into a hideous capitalist big brother bully hiding behind the
    finger of their historical goodwill.

    You needn’t look far for recent
    examples. Their treatment of their own suppliers, customers in the face of late
    payments, wrongly charged tariffs, and their recent wanton disconnection of the
    entire Net*One subscriber-base over monies owed point to the tip of an iceberg
    that will be sure to emerge soon and sink them like the unsinkable Titanic.

    Their monopolistic tendencies
    reflect a failure to adapt and they only need to ask the dinosaur what happens
    when you refuse to evolve.

    They have lost my vote of
    confidence and I am chucking my formerly prized SIM card into the dustbin and
    moving to a network that values my connectivity, patronage, a network that
    respects fair trade practices and basic business ethics.

    I am shocked that Strive Masiyiwa’s
    vision, leadership have been defiled by short-term political expedience. Who doesn’t
    remember Econet fighting, too, to get a licence and the support from the masses
    that identified with them now the shoe is on the other side. The late, Joshua
    Nkomo, must be turning in his grave after seeing what a monster the baby he
    helped deliver has become.

    Marwadzo Mafirakureva

    1. Hacha Ndizvo

      You are lost. Econet paid over 100 million to renew its licence. Telecel did not pay anything – so is the field level? Wake up. As things stand Telecel can afford to fund these silly promotions using money it should have paid to renew its licence.

      1. William Blink Chui

        When did Econet pay?

        Last I checked they had reached a payment plan as the fees stipulated were not to be paid instantly.

  13. Jb

    Seems a bit bogus to me this thing that Econet is diverging into. Just for the sake of a competition that hasn’t even began,how embarrassing. These guys have penetrated into the telecommunications transportations and have been in the game for a long time. Let Telecel and its subscribers be!

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