Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates


Zimbabwe Broadband: ZOL launches even lower priced unlimited internet

zol-logoWhen we attended the Liquid Telecom the MD of the fibre operator, Wellington Makamure said that while Zimbabwe’s telecoms industry is lucrative, its one of the most competitive. Nothing speaks more about that heat of competition than a new price cut by ZOL just weeks after the operator announced unlimited internet on all its packages. The price cuts come with new packages for home and business users starting at $59 (well, 60) for unlimited broadband at speeds of up to 1 mbps all the way up to $695 for data heavy enterprise customers.

The announcement was made this morning via an email to ZOL subscribers. The new packages and prices have been posted on the company’s website here (home) and here (business). You will notice from the price tables that it’s a total of 13 different packages, which is a lot and can be confusing in terms of difference in the effective broadband you get. The packages fall into two categories; a home category with 9 packages, 3 of which are fibre with speeds of up 20Mbps and the other 3 we’re guessing WiMax with speeds of up to 3 Mbps.

Here’s a table of the home broadband packages:

Package Speed Price
Plus Up to 1Mbps $59
Enhanced Up to 2Mbps $99
Ultra Up to 3Mbps $129
Fibre Fast Up to 10Mbps $149
Fibre Faster Up to 15Mbps $199
Fibre Fastest Up to 20Mbps $259

Of course, as with all things ISPs that “Up to” phrase in the speed is something only the users of the service can say how low speed gets and for how long. As for setup costs, the ZOL website says all packages come with free* equipment. Yes a “free” with a T&Cs apply little asterisk, so be sure to call ZOL and ask what that means before ditching your current ISP.

Still on the equipment, the ZOL CEO, David Behr, says in the email that they will now use their own infrastructure, a shift from the renting arrangement they have had in the past with licensed Internet Access Provider, Africom, Telecontract, Aquiva, Aptics and others. As a Liquid subsidiary this was going to happen sooner or later since Liquid is itself a licensed IAP.

When uMax announced the slash of prices to $75 for 20GB data three months ago, we noted that it was a move that would change everything as uMax had become the lowest broadband in the country. The competition has essentially responded and 20GB sold at $75 a month is just not the lowest priced anymore. Unlimited data at $59 is.

The one thing that uMax have on their side is their reputation for solid 1Mbps and customer support. But even that will be hard to sell against ZOL’s unlimited data on fibre coming down at 10Mbps for $149. These are prices that actually make you consider getting fibre at home. If its available along the street ofcourse.

It’s interesting how, this time last year, TelOne’s ADSL was the automatic recommendation for low cost and reliable broadband. It’s a fast paced industry and this is just not the case anymore.

You can read the full ZOL email here.

Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

57 thoughts on “Zimbabwe Broadband: ZOL launches even lower priced unlimited internet

  1. I have been using Telone ADSL. Recently my account got disconnected. When I visited their offices they informed me I had run out of 15GB of data bundles. Impossible! I told them them according to my analysis I should have gone through 800Mb as I downloaded a couple of Youtube VMWARE training videos. Apart from that we use Whatsapp and Viber as well as facebook on smartphones. They then reffered me to the logs enquiry on the website. The logs were baffling! One evening I downloaded 5GB on a 256Kb link in 4 hours!!!!!
    You have lost a customer, am going to ZOL! Obviously there is a bug in their metering software

      1. Read the story again… This time slowly and look for hints that say ‘free’ and ‘own infrastructure’.

        1. I actually posted this after calling their office in Bulawayo today to be connected. Maybe the information on the free* bit has not filtered to the whole country.

      2. thats the old setup costs – its clear that you now get a free CPE – i suspect the catch is like umax’s you dont own it until 12 months or something similar

      3. Mwalimu, this is not accurate. We have a special on where you get free CPE and installs. Just $59.

        1. hi david

          I was told this free service/installation is not available in Cranborne so am surprised when U say it is free. My 10 yr old son is the one who kept insisting it was free and wanted this service up in time for the holidays but alas we have to fork out over $500.
          Shld this service be available in my neighbourhood do advise and can take it up asap.


    1. just want to check the obvious with telone, are you using a wifi router? have you made sure the wireless is secured with your own password as other people may have crept on? also some phones and other devices will download there updates in the background on wifi which will silently chew your bandwidth without you knowing – that said the metering system with telone is overly complex (i suspect its been designed to confuse people on purpose)

      1. The wifi router is secured with a very complex password. All smartphones (2) are set not to update without user confirmation. On this one I am convinced its the faulty metering from telone!

        1. are the smartphones owned by teenagers?
          these kids can do the unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. ZOL are very wily at not mentioning guaranteed minimum speeds here. infact i bet if you had to call them they may tell you that they cannot guarantee anything, and that you get up to ‘x’Mbps as mentioned only. i have a suspicion that those prices, even though they look like monthly prices, will require you to fork out an annual lump sum. if this is true then their cheapest package costs $708. ZOL, care to clarify?

    1. no they are monthly packages – i’ve already enquired about switching – i didnt confirm but previous annual packages gave you the 13th month free

      1. Anthony, we do not give the 13th month free. We feel these prices are so good we can’t afford to do that. Also very few people can pay up front these days.

        1. Hello David

          I was one of the first people to react to your new offer. On the 9th of July, I paid a whopping $570 for a modem… can I go and request a refund. I feel cheated, and so unfair

          1. I have been on ZOL WiMax (1Mbps – Home) for 17 days now, am within required range of two (2) 4G base stations, but at times the internet is so frustratingly slow. Sure, when its going fast, it’s quite ok, but I cannot predict performance from hour to hour…am beginning to wonder how uMax would have been like. (please ignore the 60 or so Gb I have downloaded so far.)

            1. A big thank you to Wadzanai @ the Borrowdale office. Despite a small startup hitch, she was indeed professional and kept me posted on everything that i needed.

    2. Feel free to contact us for an explanation on the various packages on offer. Our packages are all monthly. We offer a further discount on annual packages.

      1. @zolconnect:disqus kindly respond to the setup costs issue. Is the CPE for free for sure????

          1. I just got off a call with one of the sales people at ZOL and she told me that setup is _NOT_ included in the offer. I then pointed her to this Techzim article and to your comments and the rep said she doesn’t quite understand what it all means and insisted that I would have to pay the setup costs especially if the ODU is recommended – which is likely to be the case if I’m lucky that a signal can be found at all (Shawasha Hills).

            1. Sorry we do need to have better internal training. Setup _IS_ included in the offer. And if your area requires an outdoor unit, you shall get it free too!

    3. It is very standard practice throughout the world not to give minimum guarantees on speeds on consumer services. If you need these, you are better off with an enterprise-level service. These prices are indeed monthly. You don’t need to pay for a year up front.

      1. Hello, David! How can you be contacted, I would like to have a chat with you concerning internet.

  3. Generally speaking this is great news for the Zim internet scene. Also kind of a huge blow to UMAX as ZOLs covergae is far more superior than theirs. But IMO UMAXs amazing support and top grade unshaped 1mbps is whats gonna keep most home “power users” flocking to them especially for those that work from home.

    On the other hand, ZOL can finally capture the large market in underserved areas where there is a real thirst for 1mbps+ affordable internet. Im talking about areas like Malborough, Mabelreign and Westgate where there is a growing middle class population that can afford this internet but most ISPs were too blind to actively target those markets especially when it came to basic coverage…Im looking at you UMAX.

    I do worry about this “upto” business. This technically means there is no minimum service level agreement and this worries me as what if we have a another Powertel situation with ZOL :O Ofcourse this is unlikely to happen as Liquid does employ some of the best engineers (I know a few) where as powertel seems to employ just 1…maybe 2 when things get extremely bad like this past week. Also Im sure with Liquids massive fibre capacity major conjestion will likely not be an issue in most areas…

    ….talking about areas, anyone know the exact coverage/tower locations of ZOLs wimax?…Im hoping there’s one near my house as I always see a liquid car every other day there and we all know the closer you are to the base station the less likely you suffer from congestion the more likely you are to reach your “upto” speed.

    But kudo’s to ZOL, this truly is a happy day for Zim internet.

    1. We have 150 basestations, each of 3 sectors all around the country. That means there are effectively 450 radio head-ends for you to connect to. Over 150 of those are in Harare alone.

      1. Thank you for the reply Mr CEO. I’ll give your sales guys a call tomorrow as I read below that you confirmed that even outdoor CPEs shall be included in the bundles without the aditional setup costs…Right?

        1. Right! But we will try to fit you with an indoor one first as that is better for you and us as easier to install and manage. If you need an outdoor, we will give you that.

          1. Hi. Just to share with you my experience today.

            I went to your Eastage offices and met with the sales rep. She was very friendly indeed. She opened an account for me and gave me the indoor unit to try out just incase I got a strong enough signal at my house not to need the outdoor unit.

            Unfortunately when I got home, the signal was veery week and so I returned with it and no hassles whatsoever I was promised an outdoor installation hopefully by Thursday!

            So for my thoughts: Customer service was top notch and had my house been better located then the indoor unit would have definitely been great for me as its literally a matter of plugging it in and its a go.
            I’m really glad that I’m getting the outdoor unit without the former heartbreaking, bank busting setup fees especially for us basic home users!

            If I should offer any advice, its that there is still a tad bit of confusion from the sales team as to whether the outdoor unit is *free* should an indoor unit not get enough signal. The rep that was serving me wasn’t too sure about this when we first started talking though after quick call to someone higher up I guess it was clairified that first offer indoor unit and should it fail, then offer outdoor unit for free aswell.

            Anyway, glad to be back with ZOL again!..Last time I used it was in the days of dial up! So excited for Thursday to come now!! 🙂

            1. I am delighted! Have noted your points. I really hope your outdoor works. Did you try moving the indoor around the house? where are you located? Keep me posted anyway.

              1. I’m sure the outdoor unit will work. I tried moving the indoor one around the house but I was getting max 1 bar of signal that would then drop after a few minutes. So thats why Im confident that the outdoor one will work as indeed my house is in range of the base station just unfortunately not close enough for the indoor unit.

                I’m located in Meyrick Park Mabelreign along Sherwood Drive…So it is an area with a lot of tree coverage. Before you had this offer, I’d contacted UMAX but unfortunately their towers are pretty much in town and theres a large hill infront of my house so signal was impossible however I heard that you have a tower in Bluffhill and if its the one I suspect (I always see a liquid car there) then I will definitely get good signal with the outdoor unit as its on high ground and its pretty much flat land from my house to the tower.

              2. Finally got it installed today!…All I can say is WOW!!…Speed? Amazing? Reliability?…Well I’ll see as the week progresses but so far no fluctuations in perfomance!

                However, slight confusion seems to still reign now between installers and the office. I didn’t get a wireless router as the installers didn’t get the go-ahead from the office so didn’t even bring one yet a few calls to the office later it turns out I should’ve gotten a router too. So they said a team should drop it off at my house tomorrow.

                But so far impressed! Keep up the good work. And once the neighbours notice the wimax antenna…its very high as my house is a double story…I’ll let them know its ZOL 😉

  4. I jus called zol to find out about their exciting new offers. Very disappointed to say the least. The free everything only applies to indoor units which is only provided in Avondale.

    The outdoor unit is $500 something. I asked if they can a site survey. That is another polite 55 dollars.

    No thank you Zol, it was nice knowing your offers, l will stay with my adsl!!

    1. No that information is incorrect. CPE includes ODU and IDU you got misled somewhere..

      1. l phoned a number which was answered by a Zol rep! If lm being misled by zol then zol is not organised, but l believe what l heard

    2. Macdchip – you are hard not to disappoint! But we will try… the CPE *and* the install is free. We don’t do surveys because we have 450 sectors you can connect to – so a survey is rather pointless – certainly in urban areas. If you *insist* in a survey, then I think it is fair we charge! Surveys are necessary for operators with only a few basestations.

      1. Thought I share my two cents on my install. Was former ???? user but signal was just too sporadic. Went to Zol Eastgate branch and was assisted by Rufaro in sales, she set up account and promised to have a tech call me later to help with install. I chose to do it myself (I lenjoy climbing roofs) so just needed the frequencies. Waited for the call but obviously the whole telecel vs econet stand off, the tech couldn’t reach me and left a note on file. Anyway I called Innocent and he ran me through the config in 5 mins max, and I just pointed the ODU to the Econet basestation that is a few clicks away from the house, and boom I was online. I have to say I am bloody impressed with the speed, and for the Nay sayers the up to 1Mbps is actually hitting 2Mbps no problem. Youtube videos start streaming no problem at 320P and go on right to the end. I have downloaded some large files just to test connectivity and see if it would hold out and not crash half way and it managed to do that without a glitch. With my previous provider refreshing and re-downloading was becoming the norm, not this time. Like some people have pointed out there is a bit of confusion about setup costs and I note you have clearly mentioned that the ODU/IDU are free, but some of the staff are still adamant that there is an installation charge, in my case they were quoting $100 partly one of the reasons I did a DIY. Anyway despite that small glitch, I am very impressed and I can only say keep up the good work, I am sure you must be very proud to see the company you started up get to the level it is now and I can only hope it continues to go and offer greater services. I know FTTH will become the norm and I do hope you guys are looking into other avenues namely VOD to break the monoply of DSTV and need I say ZBC. If all works I will hopefully be upgrading year end to test out your fibre line.Once again thanks and keep up the good work.

        1. I share your sentiments of great joy too. ZOL has really impressed me with this offering! Though the confusiton about installation was also a tad present in their offices but it seems quick calls to Rufaro or to her senior seem to then clear everything up.

          Finally today I can skype for the first time in months…and Maybe even update my ipad…oooo and windows too…and…..!

  5. How much is the unlimited WiFi for the month… Like unlimited YouTube and downloading…… Also when are your competition winner to be announced?

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