Econet Wireless recently introduced a new suite of bundles that offer voice and data at a discounted rates. The product, called Bundles of Joy, also has unlimited local SMSes for the $5, $10 and $20 bundle sizes.
At face value this a great deal. For the $5 bundle that has all the services (voice, data and SMS) you get 47.15 minutes (what’s with the seconds in the price structure?) of Econet to Econet calls, 30 MB of data and unlimited SMSes.
Ordinarily $5 gets you at least 20 minutes of talk time, a variable figure thanks to the legendary Buddie Zone. These bundles gives you an extra 30 MB of data (worth $3) and of course the unlimited SMSes!
However as the occasional victim of capitalism i know that every unbelievable deal has the consumer at some disadvantage. With these bundles the biggest giveaway is the the fact that the joy is only valid for specific periods. The $1 and $2 bundles (no data here) are valid for 1 day which only extends as far as midnight on the day of purchase.
As for the cheapest all-inclusive $5 bundle, a subscriber is given 2 days to burn through 47 and a quarter minutes of voice calls (Econet to Econet) and 30 MB of data. The unlimited SMSes should give you a run for your money though, texting people who are not on WhatsApp. I wouldn’t be surprised if some enterprising startup or SME buys the bundles to initiate a bulk message blitz for the two day period.
Then there’s the issue of voice calls for on net calls only. This means i still need to buy credit to accommodate anyone who is not part of the Econet experience. If this was coming from the other operators i would have taken it as a strategy to boost subscriber numbers, one of many classes that Econet aced a lifetime ago. Still it would have been so much better if they had made room for off net calls.
Honestly i applaud service providers that are always coming up with new products and services to add value to the customer’s experience. It’s impressive to have operators coming up with ways to boost ARPU, digging into voice call options offering data packages and keeping SMS relevant. It’s a tough operating environment and these guys are trying to make the most of the situation.
This extra effort will pay off and this means “bigger and better” profit margins for the operators but as a consumer I want something that genuinely adds value for me as well. Perhaps comprehensive bundles for WhatsApp, Facebook and other OTT services would have meant more joy.
In this case we can only hope for responses from Telecel and Netone that rival these bundles. This might translate into bigger and better bundles and promotions from every provider with Econet tweaking this offer so that it brings joy.
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