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Please give us uncapped mobile internet

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You should plug in a 3G dongle into a computer at your own peril.
You plug in a 3G dongle into a computer at your own peril.

Shakespeare said: Brevity is the soul of wit and so I will be succinct and get to the point. I find the pricing model employed by Econet, Netone and Telecel for data usage to be particularly expensive (overly-expensive) and in other aspects unfair as it is illogical. Also I cannot understand, for the life of me, the lack of uncapped package offers from traditional (GSM) operators.

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While they have made a show of improving their services, I think concrete and genuine change is needed with regards to the unit used in charging data and availability of uncapped packages. The overall price per megabyte of data charged by GSM operators has steadily declined over the years but with the proliferation of data hungry smartphones and tablets which people use on the move there is need more than ever for uncapped packages for high data usage customers. Continuing to use the megabyte as a measure in this era is akin to using a teaspoon to sell sugar or milliliters to sell petrol – it makes you think that the seller is a profiteering vampire hell-bent on sucking every penny from you.

These mobile operators have the temerity to use YouTube as an example of one of the sites that you can visit using their internet connection. I would like to meet a soul brave enough to attempt this feat because watching a 1080p video on these networks might just cost you your life. Also whilst everyone has been lamenting the lack of local content such as a local video site for example, it would make very little sense to bear the excessive cost of locally hosting content, given our erratic power supply and the legislative hoops, when these mobile operators continue to charge local data the same amount as international data. Surely it costs less to access a server in Harare than it does to access a server in Palo Alto.

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There is urgent need for our local operators to introduce uncapped packages for a cost of say $50/month for use on smartphones and tablets. It is rather disconcerting to have this nagging question whether your bundles will carry through the day or week at the back of your mind whenever using online services. At the very least, these mobile operators would do well to make it free to access local sites and change the unit of measurement to Gigabytes when selling their data.

Powertel and Africom have shown that uncapped packages are more than viable. However these are not extensive in terms of network coverage and are not widely used by customers as the GSM operators are. Operators like Verizon in America, MTN in South Africa have also successfully demonstrated that operators will loose nothing by offering unlimited internet. So go on and give us unlimited mobile internet already.

Picture: Compare Broadband.


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16 thoughts on “Please give us uncapped mobile internet

    1. Pass the variable costs and a fair propotion of fixed costs to the customer. The problem is that most operators want to recoup their Capital Expenditure in one night.

  1. You have to understand the model behind these businesses including their core routing and backbone transmission infrastructure. For a GSM operator to be able to offer unlimited internet at good speeds would have to invest heavily in the backbone otherwise you will have unlimited internet on paper and crappy service in reality. Running an unlimited service is very expensive and can only normally be afforded by Corporate customers who need it for mission critical applications.

    Go to any ISP and ask them how much an unlimited connection costs and compare it to their capped service. Unless they run an unlimited, shared service which will is normally the crappiest of them all.

    1. It would be delusional to expect unlimited internet. I just meant uncapped internet.

      1. The mobile broadband connection offered by MNOs is in actual fact uncapped. However, the maximum throughput offered by each base station is a shared resource by all mobile stations that are camped on that site. For you to achieve the maximum theoretical DL of 21Mbps on say an HSPA+ you would need to be alone on that site with excellent quality conditions and practically next to the site. In reality though, the bandwidth is shared amoungst numerous users, there is a significant amount of interference from other users and base stations, and signifant distances from serving cells, zvichireva izvo kuti maspeeds edu anobva adzikirawo. We all know what the solution to this problem is, but i suppose that may be a non-starter since tichida zvemahara

        1. I hear you, but I have always opined that if uncapped is good enough on my desktop, then it is good enough for my phone.

  2. Uncapped mobile Internet is expensive even by South African standards. Orders more expensive than the very cheap uncapped ADSL.

    I admit being ignorant and lazy to find out on the specifics of why but it is a common trend for mobile data. I assume its infrastructural or other…

  3. I agree it is about time somebody offered an uncapped internet option. As someone who is in the new media field and whose work is all based online – uncapped is a must in my day to day life. How are we supposed to make money when internet costs are so expensive…

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