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.
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.
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.