TelOne, the state-owned telecoms operator which is Zimbabwe’s only fixed telephone services provider has just added value to its voice services by introducing free, off-peak unlimited calling.
The new feature allows TelOne residential clients to make unlimited calls between 6pm and 6am during weekdays, and from 1pm to 6am the following day on weekends and public holidays. It only applies to TelOne to TelOne calls and has been extended to clients who have paid their monthly $5 subscription.
For an operator that’s been busy with broadband services that include adjustments to ADSL, a rollout of fibre and public WiFi placements, this looks like an attempt by TelOne to raise the prominence of one service line that has been overshadowed by the rise of broadband.
Like other evolving telecoms operators, TelOne has positioned itself as more of an internet service provider ahead of the once dominant voice services line which continues to lose relevance to more ubiquitous technologies that accompany increased internet access.
In the case of TelOne, this adjustment was also prompted by the massive disruption brought on by mobile telecoms where most of the voice traffic is now generated.
According to the latest quarterly report from the industry regulator, POTRAZ, on net voice calls totalled 81,826,742 minutes in traffic, against the 877,534,107 minutes for mobile voice traffic.
The volume of TelOne voice traffic clearly pales in comparison for a host of reasons, so perhaps value-added services for voice might help shine a light on its existence in the sea of mobile communication alternatives.
Still, the new off-peak voice freebie may have just as well been encouraged by something that’s just as simple. The update from TelOne that announced this new feature encouraged existing TelOne subscribers to evangelise this new effort while prompting new subscribers to sign up and engaging defaulters to pay up. .
TelOne could probably be just trying to add more residential subscribers to its 237, 917 total, something that would help it sign on a set of new potential ADSL sign ups.
The only thing that will matter for TelOne subscribers is the fact that they are getting over 370 hours of talk time for $5, something that all mobile operators won’t come close to matching.