Econet & Telecel say they do not throttle bandwidth for WhatsApp bundles

Nigel Gambanga Avatar


If you are an Econet or Telecel subscriber let’s take a minute to celebrate WhatsApp bundles. Discounted access to the platform has meant sending and receiving images, audio clips and videos; something to smile about. I love the ability to watch,listen and send every video or amusing audio clip without having to worry about mobile data balances.

However I’m not the first person (and I doubt I will be the last) to raise an issue about how the bundles seem to make it harder to download any multimedia content. The process hardly happens in one take which can be frustrating. The element of distrust towards network operators always leaves your everyday subscriber thinking that some sinister plot is at play.

The assumption held by most subscribers (myself included) frustrated by struggling downloads is that the operators are throttling the bandwidth for the “unlimited” service. I’ve even had the same suspicions with¬†Facebook bundles.

Throttling bandwidth is hardly new to broadband service delivery. There is always the risk for an operator or service provider that if you give some subscribers the proverbial inch they will take an ell. The safest alternative is to offer these “unlimited services” with a provision to regulate consumption when things get out of hand. You will still get your unlimited service as promised, it will just be slower.

Judging from the numerous Zim dancehall videos and tracks, and more recently the soccer clips that “exchange hands” thanks to WhatsApp bundles, it would have been probably understood that the operators have to “regulate” consumption. This would have been understandable if it was done openly.

However it seems it’s a network issue (the usual fall guy for bad service). According to representatives from both Econet and Telecel these services are genuinely unlimited. The challenges that we are facing are attributable to occasional network congestion with the rare occasions where some technical challenges have caused minor problems.

In the case of Telecel, some of the “kinks” that subscribers might have met these past few days are being attributed to the integration of the service to the network with the operator promising an improved service in days to come.

It sounds hard to believe and the explanation doesn’t leave room to suggest these download challenges will go away. Unfortunately whether I am convinced by this response or not, I have to accept it. It’s better to have slow unlimited WhatsApp and Facebook than none at all perhaps.

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  1. Anonymous

    Bandwidth is a limited resource that is shared between several users. As the number of users increase and the content becomes larger, it only makes sense that there will be greater contention for the limited resource. Demand and supply,nothing to do with throttling…. You cant have your cake and eat it too

  2. huniland

    from my personal xperience. telecel internet had problems already and the introduction of whatsapp bundles ddnt mke the situation any better. i purchased the day bundle i wasnt impressd so the line went straight into a kambudzi. econet mmmmm nah it cant be relied on. one minute its working fine the next its off so that one straight into the econet modem. i thnk all the major service providers are in their ryt places. i use netone on my smart fone, so reliable and fast…telecel the best for voice calls…econet, well ecocash and unlimited sms for my peer who dnt have app…and powertel for major downloads…..for me its gonna stay that way until these guys make some improvements.

    1. Edward White

      So true, broadband in Zimbabwe sucks, don’t care how many times people defend it. When you are use to world class broadband and you come to Zimbabwe ( where people accept slap dash service from all corners ) it is so frustrating you need to take calming tablets. And I have also noticed that ECONET block access to a few websites. In my view we need a worldclass service provider in Zim to shake all the service providers. And we know congestion is everywhere in Zim, has been for donkey years… Never improves?

  3. Floyd

    I also suspect the same sinister play from these network guys,how come when you are browsing using airtime especialy Econet, WhatsApp is fast but when you have subscribed for bundles it becomes slower. Does the protocol for whatsapp change when one is using bundles or airtime??? These guys must be honest.

  4. Yussuf Ouedrago

    I use Econet Whatsapp and Facebook Bundles, I don’t have any problem with download speeds, its always perfect on my smartphone

    1. Thabiso

      Hie Yussuf, if i may ask which smartphone do u use and in which area? Thanx

  5. Khal Drogo

    I concur with your assessment and sentiments. When purchasing bundles they should give us any option for us to confirm and agree to a (FUP) fair use policy because they is NO such thing as (UMIB) Unlimited Mobile Internet Bundles on both (MNO) Mobile Network Operator. To avoid quarrels try Airtime and bundles and you will witness a disparity.

  6. Farai

    I do not have problems with both bundles from Econet. In fact I was shocked when I so that last month alone I used 4 gig of data on Facebook alone. Of course there is the usual slowness but not something to write home about

  7. Nick

    Even purchasing these bundles has also become a hassle both via ecocash and regular airtime. Its just econet balancing its books

  8. Mao Tse Tung

    no probs for me. i use samsung galaxy s4.

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