19 EconetZero weeks later…

Zack Chapepa Avatar


Yes, it’s been 19 weeks since Econet treated us to a surprise that promised to change the way we go online. We took the chance to take a step back, think this through and get a better sense of what this means now that we’re 19 weeks into it.

If anything, EconetZero has had some positive feedback because…well, it’s free. Upon announcement, Econet touted the initiative to be the first ever of this scale. This was inarguably true. With north of 50 academic websites to browse through for free, what more could you ask for? At about the same time, Econet also unveiled EcoSchool an initiative aimed to better our education in ways we never could before. EcoSchool still remains in beta.

From my personal experience, EconetZero always lurked in the background. Showing up only when I ran up my internet bundle. That’s when Wikipedia kicked in. Usually it was to reach on a subject I threw in a box and kicked to a corner for later reference. Sometimes I could use Wikihow to learn how to fold a paper and sometimes I also fancied visiting Wonderhowto to learn how to effectively use Tor.

If I ever needed to dust up my near rusty memory on RAM and the ilk Howstuffworks stepped up to the challenge. I found myself consuming more knowledge while waiting on recharging my balance. Which brings us to one of my main gripes. Reliance.

“Should have done things differently”

My first two weeks with EconetZero were all about getting up to speed. Learning all the quirks, all the plus sides and just trying to know how I could better use EconetZero to my advantage. It turned out to be an unreliable experience.

Like this one time when I was doing a little research on an audiobook, World War Z by Max Brooks. Since I was using Wikipedia I thought to myself, it should be free, right? I was dead wrong. With the images turned on my balance had to show for it.

I stared at my then severed balance wishing I had known better. At that point it instantly killed my interest. I settled for using EconetZero only when I had close to nothing in my account, and as a result I started using it less frequently.

That said, other people have had different experiences. Some university students for example say they use it when they are home because at school they have a WiFi connection. EconetZero still stands as the best educational service brought about by Zimbabwe’s leading carrier. It’s just like one of those cases when you never know what you have until it’s gone.


  1. Anonymous

    so how do you use econet zero cause it seems like it doesnt workon my phone

    1. Zack Chapepa

      It does but it just depends on how you access the websites. If you’re using Opera Mini you’ll have to change the domain for each page, for example with this link en.wikihow.com/dev… should be retyped to http://www.wikihow/dev... . It’s a hit or miss in some cases but the bonus is you’ll load pictures for free 😉

      or you could just use the default browser that came with the phone that is maybe Chrome or the default one. Please note that you will have to turn off images and JavaScript because these will definitely eat away your balance.

  2. Anonymous

    You lost me on the heading. What are you say? 19

    1. Zack Chapepa

      my apologies, it says the 19 weeks that we’ve had since EconetZero was announced by Econet on the 4th of March this year

  3. Michael Zuumbe

    I have never used it, dont even know how it works.

    1. Zack Chapepa
  4. Mr_T

    The Econet Zero thing is a good initiative! Sadly though, execution hasn’t been perfect. With experiences similar to the author, I find it useful only when my data is at zero otherwise opening any of the free websites will gobble my data. Though the majority of the websites (googlebooks, Gutenberg, etc) aren’t particularly useful to me, there are some gems which I’ve found to be awesome when I tether my phones connection to a laptop eg learnstreet which is a good resource for any newbie wanting to learn programing! I’ve learned so much already, only drawback is having my phone completely at 0mb in order to enjoy the service.
    But otherwise this is indeed a first, good initiative and hats off to econet!

    Ps, for those with android phones esp college kids, download the Wikipedia app, found it to be useful when using EconetZero

    1. Zack Chapepa

      Nice tip you got there Mr_T, thanks

    2. Alu

      Will I get audio and pictures on the app though? Coz from earlier encounters with the wikipedia website while using econet zero, I got ZERO images.

      1. Zack Chapepa

        as far as I know images only work when using opera mini as I explained to the first person. Most apps on android are built on HTML5 acting as a glorified browser so same as the internal browser you won’t be getting any images

  5. TSA – The Serial Analyst

    All the websites that are useful to me like codeacademy and edx dont work!!!! In addition, when I tried to use my iPhone as a hotspot and log into the sites with a zero balance, I ended receiving a message on my phone that your personal hotspot not working, contact your carrier. Empty promises just to make noise that they are the first to do this and that!

  6. Alu

    Was trying to use duolingo on my zol wimax last night – but I had to do that pre-evaluation test. Couldn’t finishing that initial test without the connection dropping on me, didn’t even get halfway through – and evening is meant to be the time when its faster – ZOL WIMAX IS TRULY CRAP – AVOID AVOID AVOID! Anyway that’s a rant for another day. What I came here to ask was; have you tried econet zero with apps? Only remembered now that duolingo is meant to be included on econet zero, and duolingo has an official android app as well. So will the app work when connecting on zero?

  7. Curious

    Is Econet still providing free internet to Yokoos ?

  8. Muntu

    I recently found out that Econet is not alone in the “Zero” educational initiative (For Wikipedia at least that is). According to Wikipedia there are over 30 other mobile operators around the world whom they have partnered offering “Zero Wikipedia”. Kumwe kwese zvingarambe asi pa Zero Wikipedia vakandigonera!

  9. collen

    useful learnt alot from econet free sites

2023 © Techzim All rights reserved. Hosted By Cloud Unboxed