Local mobile operator Econet Wireless has been making some slight changes to its voice services suite. Besides reintroducing the discounted calls to select contacts it also recently adjusted its emergency airtime package.
Econet subscribers can now access 30 cents, 50 cents and 75 cents of airtime on credit by dialing the *179# USSD code. This expands on the previous offer of 50 cents airtime credit which was also available on the same extension.
The motivations seem fairly obvious. Unlike NetOne which offers the airtime credit facility for free, Econet makes 5 cents of each airtime credit extension and making it more attractive is the smart play here.
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Admittedly the 5 cent token is hardly the sort of money that would provide the operator with a strong substitute for falling voice revenues. But cumulatively such minuscule revenues offer a decent bottom line figure at the end of each financial period.
The revision of the credit bands also suggests a response to changes in the market right now. Besides the ever challenging and increasing voice call apathy, Zimbabwe is going through one of its toughest economic periods. Services like airtime credit are a welcome buffer for subscribers faced with cash flow challenges.
Perhaps NetoOen and Telecel which first got into the line of airtime credit some 4 years ago will also be tweaking its packages to give subscribers another reason to love their networks.