ZOL has disrupted the Zim internet space, is voice communication next?

Nigel Gambanga Avatar

ZOL-FibroniksZimbabweans are very particular about the cost of a product or service and any adjustment made to that effect. This extends to anything that an entrepreneur might want to provide really. The market is very price sensitive, just ask Powertel.

It’s all blamed on the tough economic environment. Every dollar counts so if you up the price on something or make it premium then you can be sure that a lot of folks won’t touch it. Your product or service is branded as something for the affluent rather than the the have-nots.

Which is the zone where ZOL’ s fibre packages seem to have been hovering. Even with the entry level $89 package that was supposed to lead the ZOL Fibroniks march there was still some apprehension. It didn’t matter to consumers that this was a fibre connection with awesome speeds and connection quality on its side.

Now with its $39 Basics Fibre package the size of the potential market has changed for the Internet Service Provider (ISP). The price sits well below the previous $89 “entry” mark and even undercuts the $59 Wimax unlimited package. Depending on what someone uses their internet connection for, this $39 package might actually give slower unlimited packages a run for their money.

I tend to think so because for a while I have been oscillating between a fibre connection and the ZOL Wimax offering and though the latter might be unlimited it has nothing on fibre. There’s always the frustration that comes with poor speeds at certain times of the month, even if you haven’t been “abusing” your unlimited connection for the odd movie torrent.

Now this new fibre package brings ZOL into a closer contest with providers like Umax, Aptics and Yo Africa that have been steadfast in providing quality internet at a slightly higher price.

The Umax package for example is a $75 Wimax package that has a 20GB cap and a guaranteed 1Mbps speed. It now has a lot to prove against a $39 15GB fibre package that can hit speeds of up to 5Mbps. Interestingly though, with this greater focus on price this new ZOL option is now being compared (read the comments here) to the TelOne $45/25GB ADSL package.

Will local internet prices tumble? It could happen. After all, this was what the market has probably needed for the past 12 to 18 months with all the tightening of economic screws that Zimbabweans have had to endure.

ZOL has probably fired the first shot in what will hopefully be a price and data war to keep internet users engaged. What is peculiar though is this might have been about something more than the internet.

ZOL as a gateway for communication

The talk has always been about how ZOL Fibroniks comes with a host of possibilities for high speed internet and communication, which in all entirety is what we would want the internet to be. It’s just that no other ISP or IAP is leaning on the other aspects of the internet in the same way or packaging it as such.

Looking at communications, Fibroniks comes with a VoIP service that is being pushed along with the fibre internet package.

Honestly the ability to call other ZOL numbers for free doesn’t have much merit right now. Not many people have ZOL VoIP services at the moment. In fact other voice providers like TelOne and Africom aren’t worried by that, but they should be.

One distinct characteristic of ZOL and its parent company Liquid is that relative to Zimbabwean infrastructure roll-out, they are establishing their presence at breakneck speed.

Although it is still limited to Harare the Liquid fibre network which powers ZOL products has already been extended to both high and low density areas, which increases the potential uptake of such services. Voice communication that comes as a cherry on top for fast internet can upset the market, especially if it is made “free”.



  1. Anonymous 2

    Early adopters, be sure to insist they explain any fair usage policies applying to your package in detail. That’s a joker they love pulling out at the worst time possible. Otherwise, sounds like a good deal.

    1. Fair Usage

      Techzim, kindly run us through this ZOL fair usage policy. ZOL sales does not have a clue it exists and you will only be shocked when you hear ZOL Support telling you about it at your worst possible time.

  2. Anthony Somerset

    Nigel i really do enjoy reading your articles, well written, thoroughly researched and not just a quick dig at one product or another all the time – please do keep it up you are one of the better writers out there in the zim blogging arena right now!

    I did notice a typo however – Umax offers 20GB not 20MB 🙂

    I’m also fairly certain that nearly all ZOL GPON customer have a VOIP line – so that number might not be as small as people think – but as you say, it will only get far far better as it grows more

    1. L.S.M Kabweza

      thanks. fixed!

    2. Nigel Gambanga

      Thanks Anthony !

  3. Samuel

    Hi guys love your site kips us updated on the latest local nd international tech news.

    I wz pretty excited when I read on yoq site that ZOL is offering a new $39 package which z more affordable than most for such great speeds of 5mb/s. Now I wz so excited that I decided to give the local ZOL office ( I live in Bulawayo, Mahatshula suburb) a visit to find out wen they will b rolling out fibre in my hood so I can gt my hnds on better priced deal. (Its not mind blowingly cheap after all.

    To my great disappointment I wz told this more affordable deal z a reserve for a few in Harare. ZOL are we not all equals or sum pple or geographical areas (In this case are more equal than others?

  4. mwana wevhu

    Thanks ZOL for upping your game, but I’m guessing that is why Telone seems to have given speed bumps without notice or maybe they are still rolling it out as users seem to experience different speeds but on same packages.
    The race for speed is about to come to an end with content and other OTT services like TV,Radio streaming

  5. Mazino

    Internet mazino in Zimbabwe the providers will continue to prey on the innocent citizens until hameno kuti Regulator vacho zvadii ma 1 chaiwo there is poor consciousness of the currency

    1. mushtella

      totally agree. we need a game changer

  6. Nyopeni

    I think government-potraz should investigate what ZOL is doing to the unsuspecting man. 512kbs home package is slower than dial-up @ $59……help!!!

    1. Anthony Somerset

      ZOL doesn’t have a 512kbps package @ $59 – but a 1mbps wimax service for that price – i’d suggest checking out what you have and perhaps clarify with them

  7. P.O.I.S.E.

    Keep up the good work, very informative, relevant and eye opening

  8. mushtella

    Zimbabwe and pricing from $89 to $39 its amazing, am sure they still profitable at $39. i have not seen any connection in my hood, my interpretation is its still high form most, telone has also com with almost a similar package. their unlimited packages are totally beyond reach for many. i will wait another year for prices to get much lower, am happy with current unlimited wimax slower connection

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