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Here are 7 ways to manage your limited, expensive mobile data bundles

TelOne, WiFi, Zimbabwean telecoms,

Everyone in Zimbabwe who accesses the internet on their phone (which is almost every internet user) now has to face the reality that the internet is going to be a lot more expensive now.

Following new price guidelines set by the telecoms regulator, POTRAZ, operators like Econet Wireless have already adjusted their data and social media bundle line up to conform with the regulations.

The adjustment will definitely be painful for a lot of people who have to scale back on sharing videos, watching Facebook Live and enjoying Instagram. However, all this doesn’t mean we have to give up on the internet.

Techzim has listed 7 ways you can manage your mobile data spend to ensure that you make the most of those data bundles and not pretend it’s 2003.

  1. Manage your WhatsApp downloads

    This is probably the most important point for the majority of Zimbabweans who have embraced WhatsApp as their primary internet source. Unless you have a “blesser” you shouldn’t use your mobile data to download pictures and videos. There is a way to prevent the automatic downloads of video and images on WhatsApp. Go to your WhatsApp Settings; select Chat Settings; under this tab select Media auto-download; once you are there disable all media auto downloads that are enabled. This limits your WhatsApp data use to just the texts and stretches your bundles while you stay connected.

  2. Use Facebook Lite and Messenger Lite

    These two services, which are stripped down versions of both Facebook and Messenger provide access to the platforms but with all content optimised for data efficiency. This means compressed images and faster loading. The social media giant introduced them for users in countries where internet is expensive or the signal is weak. We are firmly in that pool now so it’s now worth looking up. Android users can download Facebook Lite by following this link here.

  3. Invest in an affordable home internet connection, share costs with family

    Home internet options are usually avoided because of set-up costs. However, the new mobile tariffs actually make a number of home internet services more affordable over time. Internet service providers (ISPs) like ZOL (it has a $29 -15 GB Fibre option and a $19-10 GB WiMax alternative), TelOne (check out its $25-20 GB ADSL option) and Powertel all have a number of cheaper data offers which can give you access to cost effective internet at home. If you live with people who can help you split the costs you can even try unlimited packages like TelOne’s $89 ADSL which can also give you access to VOD services like Netflix and Showmax.

  4. Use those WiFi hotspots in town

    Internet provided via public WiFi hotspots is generally affordable ranging from free (with Ts and Cs) to $1 for 1 GB. TelOne and ZOL lead the public access WiFi hotspot race but there other players like Africom and uMAX that have sprayed some parts of some cities with places where you can download content or update your apps. Hopefully, these ISPs will also expand their hotspot coverage to more towns and centres around the country.

  5. Get a mobile internet option

    If you really need internet on the go all the time, the best option is to get modems from ISPs like Africom, Powertel and ZOL that have WiFi dongles and plug-in options which will give you affordable data. It’s also supposed to be viewed as an investment, considering that these dongles can cost as much as $76.

  6. Maximise “free” and affordable internet options from places like work

    You’ve probably been doing this passively already. Every time you get to work you switch to WiFi and save on your data and depending on your employer’s policy on media access during working hours are probably scrolling through Instagram on a work connection. Now, it’s going to be a necessity, especially for things like software updates and cloud backup of files. The same approach should be adopted for places that happen to provide you with free internet access during the day.

  7. If you are on Econet, identify WiFi Zones to make the most of that extra data

    Econet’s new data packages offer double the amount of data for each bundle you purchase but it’s only accessible via Econet WiFi Zones. The service isn’t new, Techzim has written about it before. Just make sure you find WiFi zones that are easily accessible and go there to make use of the facility.

These are some of the suggestions based on what we have used and what has been shared by others on discussion forums like the Techzim WhatsApp Groups. If you have other suggestions please do share in the comments below for everyone’s benefit.

Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

21 thoughts on “Here are 7 ways to manage your limited, expensive mobile data bundles

  1. This year we going back to kambudzi fone #Gorerekambudzi as we can nolonger be connected 24 /7

    1. get you line quality checked, l have been using that package for over a year now and extremely happy. Bt that was not the case, l used it at a different location, same package, l had everyone at my house to check line quality etc and they couldnt fix it. l changed to Zol which worked okayish

      When l moved house, l went into the circle of changing ISP until lwent back to TelOne, and l have no desire to leave any time soon..

      Oooh, and l can even stream on it, hold video conference, remote support etc

  2. just join us join CDMA network it is very cheap Powertel now offers the cheapest bundles at town for as little as 2.50 you get 1gig bundle valid for 2weeks just imagine and as little as $10 you get 1week unlimited internet downloading streaming.. just vist Powertel now and enjoy.

    1. Used to love them but after that switcheroo not so much. I hate it when a business unilaterally and suddenly decides to hike their prices by 1000%

    2. Who still use PowerTel, have you guys cleaned you internal systems full of viruses and your staff always downloading torrents clogging the limited bandwidth.

      I also noticed its becoming a problem at TelOne, but at least seniors at TelOne if you tell them they listen and try to do something

  3. We just need to not accept these terrible tariffs they are killing communication , startups and a lot of things , these charges are not for the people , they are not from a government who wants its country to join others in innovation and better solutions. The solutions above don’t help. $20 for less than a gig thats just so unreasonable!

  4. Very soon we won’t afford to read your news TechZim, keep that in mind and help us appeal against these tariffs. Those “7 ways ” are not the solution.

    1. guys, it’s all just a political gimmick, no data no protesting in the streets towards 2018 simple

  5. So for those who use their smartphones mobile data as hotspot, try to disable images as well when browsing on a PC. Images also consumes a lot of data

      1. Oh, and on windows 10 (and 8?), set your wifi hotspot to a metered connection to stop most system and microsoft app updates from downloading . And don’t forget liberal use of ad blockers, its even more of a dog eat data situation now and every kb counts (sorry ad supported people)!

  6. I think some action is needed against these steep data prices. It’s high time subscribers mount a constitutional application against Potraz and mobile operators because according to United Nations statutes which Zimbabwe is a signatory to , everyone human being is entitled to cheap and universal access to telecommunication service including broadband. The government is violating basic tenets of freedom of expression by hiking data charges without consulting consumers. Scrapping of whatsapp and facebook bundles should be declared a violation of human rights.

    1. I like what’s happening now. I bought shares in that one company on the stock exchange. This will be good, they better pay out dividends this year.

      1. Econet’s margins are going to be cut…. share price inoita sei?

        unless people are to go along with a higher price….. highly unlikely, hakuna mabasa, to those who have hakuna acha wedzerwa mari nekuti price reData rakwira!

        dai uri umwe watengesa maShares iwayo achine any value at all

    2. Government can be hold accountable to entities it controls. We have a capitalist economy, not a socialist or scientific socialism Zanu pf tries to play. This means that every company is working to maximise its profit.

      Econet is a private owned company which answers to its share holders. Econet have been borrowing money to expand their broadband potifolios, and those loans come with expensive interests taged on them because of how our country is viewed as a investment risk.

      That human right only applies to NetOne, Telecel and PowerTel if we are to follow your logic. I would rather have a expensive internet which can sustain the operators than having cheap internet which will kill operators.

      Running a telco business is not a political game, nor is it a charity! It is capital intensive year in year out.

      Until the economy is fixed and Zim moves away from mupedzanhamo type of economy we operating in right now, there is not going to be any relief soon to the consumers

  7. Internet should be a basic human right. In other countries access to this service is basically free! How are we supposed to move forward and develop as a country if we are cut off from the rest of the world. I expected POTRAZ to be the ones fighting for affordable internet but it seems they believe in the opposite. This is not fair at all.

    1. which other countries is internet free, just name one for us to know!

      I agree on the issue of Potraz

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