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Econet Voice Mail: Will it ever catch on?

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Econet

Econet Voice mail

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For mysterious reasons there are some technologies which, although they are popular everywhere else, have simply failed to be popular here in Zimbabwe. On the list are technologies like BlackBerry Messenger, MMS, and voicemail. Whilst we can blame the regulators for the BlackBerry Messenger woes, I think our operators are to blame for the failure of the last two. Econet however has recently stepped up efforts to try and popularize the use of voice mail through a concerted advertising effort.

For a long time when the market yearned for MMS, network operators did not make it available and when they finally availed it to the public people had already found alternatives in Instant Messaging Apps such as Mxit, 2Go, Nimbuzz and Whatsapp that seamlessly integrated multimedia and messaging apps without going through hurdles.

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The last time I tried voicemail was almost 5 years ago during the Zim dollar era. Unlike  the diminished demand for MMS nowadays, the need and usefulness of voicemail is as great now as it was then. Back then network coverage was a bit patchy and when on the road one often found themselves out of cell coverage even when travelling on the most popular routes such as the Mutare-Harare highway. You had no way of telling if you had missed an important call and your debtors often used the excuse that “your phone was unavailable” to skip payments.

If I still remember correctly, Econet had what can only be called an extortionist pricing model for voicemail. The person leaving the message was charged a normal call rate and the person retrieving the message was also charged at normal call rates to retrieve the message. Small wonder therefore that the service proved quite unpopular with my low income friends so I was forced to stop using it – as did a lot of people. A lot of people I know never even bothered.

The current pricing model being offered by Econet now only charges the person leaving the message at normal call rates and message retrieval is for free. Whilst this is definitely an improvement from the earlier model I think more incentives are needed to make the service more appealing to the market. With services like Buddie Zone and Voice Bundles service operators have clearly demonstrated that it is possible for them to make profit even if they offer such bargains. If voicemail is to be the talk of this holiday season and the coming year network operators need to offer more, otherwise it will die a silent death just like the last time.

Advantages of voice mail

  • People can leave you messages when you are busy, outside network coverage, in a meeting, your battery is dead or if for whatever reason unable to answer your phone so you can listen to the messages later and return calls if necessary. It is definitely much more useful and informative than those nagging Call Me Backs.
  • You can still retrieve your messages even if you do not have your phone.

Steps to activate and use Voice Mail on Econet phones.

  • Go to Settings-Call settings-Divert Calls (The exact steps vary from model to model.) Choose your preferred divert condition e.g. Divert when not available and set the divert number to +26377122. Please note your voice mail is only activated if someone leaves you a message an asinine condition in my opinion.
  • To retrieve messages from an Econet line dial 122 and follow the voice prompts. The default password is 321#
  • To customize your voice mail with such things as a personal greeting or to change your password dial 122, enter your password and select option 5 and follow the voice prompts.
  • To retrieve mail using another phone dial 0772122# and follow the voice prompts.

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11 thoughts on “Econet Voice Mail: Will it ever catch on?

  1. seems it doesnt work with iphones…

    not talking about visual voicemail but even getting voicemail to work to start with

    also note that leaving voicemails costs the other person the standard network rates – this is pretty much standard the world over so expecting any better than this is unlikely to be achieved

    1. I’ve had the same problem too & approached Econet to help me several times & they can ‘t find a solution either

    1. i’d argue thats what skype and other similar programs are for, they are more mature and use the data network better

  2. Vmail, last used that years ago. People either leave messages of them breathing or simply muffle in the message and one cannot make out who it is. Coupled with the lack of knowledge of leaving vmails. Name, and number and why you called, if possible. i turned it off permanently and any attempts to call if not reachable I will get an SMS with number and time of call. Or I tell people to either email or Whatsapp me.

  3. Voicemail is quite relevant. imagine getting a call from an person not
    saved in your phone and its their first time calling you. Calling back
    on some “i got a missed call from this number” will make the other
    person have to remember who they called for what! if they leave a
    voicemail I will know who they are, and wat their message was and if i
    am to call back I am more informed.

  4. im in sa, i usually get voicemails on business calls (work, banking, job hunting etc), rarely do i get them from friends and family.
    now that i think about it, most pple that leave me messages are the light skinned ones. i guess its a culture thing????

  5. Mine is rather a question, that might nt b related to this but i have been burning to know if it is possible to get all my messages for the past years

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