Devil in the details: What these service providers won’t tell you – TelOne

TelOne brought in a different angle to the FTTH crusade with its fibre service and Metro Wi-Fi. It’s target was 60 sites initially. This initiative is praiseworthy, and together with hotspots from other operators like ZOL, Telco and Africom, it looks like we are headed in the right direction.

It should be pointed out that collectively these operators have less than 300 hotspots countrywide. This is way less than the ideal Municipal Wi-Fi where there’s access for everyone in a metropolitan or municipal area.

With Econet’s bundle shuffle, I’ve become more serious about finding a broadband solution that works for me. I mean, if I must pay $6 for Whatsapp Extra and another $6 for Facebook, I might as well pay $15 for 2 Gig ADSL. With TelOne’s Home Package, I’d get Up to 1Mbps connectivity and 2 Gig downloads. That is what they say, at least.


Having visited TelOne with $15 in my pocket I walked out disliking mobile data lesser than before.

So where’s the catch?

Telone will buy page long adverts in the press and list all the packages you may or may not afford and describe in detail the pros and cons until you are satisfied you have selected a product that suits your needs.

The impression is that once you visit their offices with your $15 dollars for the Home Basic package, for example, all is set and by the time you get home they have already gone ahead and set up and you are connected by the end of the night.

What they conveniently forget to tell you however, is that you will need to pay $23 for a telephone line (the usual copy of ID, proof of residence required), $30 for a modem, $3 setup fees and wait seven days before you can pay your $15.

Oh and since you are going to have the landline installed it would make sense to buy their handsets for $27, just in case you need to make calls. Of course now that you are leasing a landline you are going to need to pay a fixed $5.75 monthly, even if you are not using the landline that month.

Lastly, when they say download cap of 2 Gig, they actually mean download, and upload, or simply; usage, so it’s not 2 Gig plus downloads but less. PS: You cannot download the latest Windows 10 on a month’s subscription.

My question is, could they not have said this BOLDLY somewhere in their adverts or website. For a basic setup where you pay $15 a month, you actually need to part with an initial $88.75 before you start subscribing for data.

Isn’t this a rather costly initial payment? How much does it really cost to deploy an ADSL line to the doorstep? Is there no other technology (Booster-To-The-Home) for providing connectivity from the nearest termination point? Are these not the same impediments that attendees have always talked about at broadband forums?

Among major hindrances to internet (broadband) adoption in the developing countries are the initial adoption costs and consumption costs. I would think that it makes more sense for ISPs to absorb the setup costs and quicken the solution provision.

That way, with loyalty promotion, they can recover the costs spread over time, post signup. Case in point: SIM cards costs hundreds of dollars initially. This was before the shift to airtime as the cash cow. So why does TelOne need to reinvent the wheel?

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20 thoughts on “Devil in the details: What these service providers won’t tell you – TelOne

  1. I think your argument is …. . So should Econet also tell us that for that WhatsApp bundle, first, come buy a whatsappable phone from us, (the cheapest being around $50) and a line? When you make an advert for a particular product, you can’t then talk about all other products younoffer that support the product being advertised, otherwise they will need to also tell you that you need a building of some sort to house the equipment, a computer or mobile device.

    What they advertise are their ADSL packages, and for someone like me with all else required, it makes a lot of sense, by the very nature of ADSL, you’ll need a landline.

    Again, your argument is …

    Oh and since you are going to have the landline installed it would make sense to buy their handsets for $27, just in case you need to make calls.

    “And oh, since you own a laptop, you need to get a desk” type of argument!

    1. The way companies like Google succeed is because they get you signed on for free by giving you the enablers like android. Once you are on Android you are on their family of products beginning with a simple email address. Recently Cell C offered to buy the cost of customers switching from one network to theirs. We have all across the world communication plans where you just pay a sum a month and the mobile phone, the data etc is part and parcel of that plan. My plea is If Telone (and others) could simply absorb the initial cost and for example provide an ADSL line, last mile connectivity, etc for “free”, it would increase the adoption rate and ultimately their ROI. I dont want an ADSL line, i just want connectivity.

  2. I am a telone subscriber and I helped my friend apply for a line just yesterday. They are quite explicit with what you get on their packages. They were very helpful and even let us know what to do because the previous tenant left an enormous bill. as for the wait time, this is not a Zimbabwean problem. I had to wait two weeks to get a fibre connection where I lived in Asia!

  3. How can one assume that you can use ADSL without a telephone line? ADSL is all over the continent and people apply for a line first before getting ADSL. Seems standard to me.

    Your concern though on the issue of download caps, I hear it. TelOne should at the very least advertise it as usage cap, to cover both upload and download.

  4. Thats where people are wrong in sa you can choose to only use the data with no landline.
    Cz lets ne honest some1 can use landline and wofainta waona bill

    1. kkkkkk. i went for their $35 package and left disapointed as i have to part with a $160 for a modem. i surely knew i should be charged for connection but $160 uuum

  5. Techzim, you are not serious.
    this article is just rubbish.
    TelOne please go ahead! we liking your innovation

    1. I agree with you. Netone is doing fantastic and you can chose not to have a land line only adsl. The internet is reasonably fast and cheap, which ISP sells 10 gig for $25 its like $2.5 per gig which is way affordable. Everyone knows initial set up are costly. Techzim is comparing companies in the developed world where initial cost are absorbed mainly by venture capitalist or investors.

  6. we know Econet’s PR machine is behind this article. Even an idiot will not take this crap seriously.

  7. actually, I am taking it seriously because its true. where is the logic in paying $80+ for a service of $15/month. It would have been better to make the package $20-$25 and spread the cost over a number of months

    1. An initial cost of $80 + to access ADSL is not steep or even prohibitive. ZOL and most other home internet providers have installation costs and requirements which are even higher than those required by Telone’s ADSL. I think this article is not well thought out.

      1. Zol fibroniks is $45 once off and the ZOL modem costs $50. I dont know about “most other home internet providers” so be specific about that.

  8. Econet connected car costs $20.00 per month and has installation fees of $100.00. But of course you need to have a car first don’t you – ( which you will need to buy insurance for and a Zinara Licence and pay for servicing it ) Bottom line- the product is aimed at people who HAVE cars if you cant afford a car the product is not for you. If you cant afford a modem or landline dont worry ADSL is not meant for you. Dont complain about once off installation costs. Talk about service quality of which I, being a user of ADSL Home Plus, think its not too bad.

    1. so Don, the $15 package is aimed at who exactly? Because they are clearly not targeting high net individuals!

  9. Zol fibroniks has a once off installation fee of $45 and is very good. Is that really prohibitive or steep?

    Its not that I can not afford a land line coz I actually use ZOL Wifi, but I am talking about the logic (or lack of it) of having high startup costs. The business is not in installing ADSL but in monthly fees!

  10. I’ve been using telone for over 2yrs…and I hate to say this regarding any parastatal the service is very good…when I first subscribed some years s ago I bought the modem.. now recently moved to another property I’m getting 2mbps for just $42 and they gave me the modem absolutely free.. Yep mahala(about 5months ago). .. And that’s 25gb….honestly I’m yet to see that beaten… Even if you add the line rental($5)

  11. As usual its econet bootlicking time. Telone provides the info if inquire. this site defended econets hike of bundle prices citing low profits. did u see how much the shareholdes r gonna get?

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