We’ve just noticed that Econet has quietly added the ability to get automatic airtime credit using the *179# code.
All along subscribers had the option to get once-off airtime credit of 30 cents, 50 cents or 75 cents payable with 7 days through regular account recharge. This has now been enhanced by the automatic airtime credit option.
If you subscribe to automatic airtime credit and you reach a certain threshold, airtime credit of the amount subscribed is automatically added preventing immediate termination of a call.
It’s not yet clear if this is just a test run or not since hasn’t been any noise about it.
This new development appears to still require some polishing. We couldn’t figure out a way to unsubscribe as no such option appears on the menu, it is certainly significant particularly from a business angle.
Econet’s airtime credit facility is a potential money maker in itself because account holders are charged a certain amount by way of airtime credit deduction on next top up.
It is essentially an airtime version of micro-credit scheme which is just made more efficient and lucrative by the sheer scale of mobile usage.
This move to give automatic airtime credit may point to a high utilisation of the facility by subscribers which may have triggered Econet to come up with a more convenient and seamless way for subscribers to get airtime credit.
This implies additional revenue making opportunity for the telecoms leviathan.
It may also mean a high level of calls are ending midway due to subscribers running out of credit and having to get credit before reconnecting the terminated call.
Whatever the trigger, it is profitable for the operator and convenient for subscribers.