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NetOne’s Khuluma is a pre-Whatsapp good deal. And that is not a good thing

When I heard about the new NetOne 24/7 voice call bundles, I had to ask myself: how many regular voice calls did I made this past week?

There was a time when this wasn’t even something I had to wonder. Making regular voice calls was something that we just did. It was the pre-WhastApp time. To communicate, you either made calls or SMS messages. Both were ridiculously expensive but it was normal because we didn’t know any cheaper.

Then, mobile operators would charge about US 23 cents a minute. And SMS was 9 cents  for every 160 characters.

Today, we buy WhatsApp bundles like NetOne’s own OneFusion. We use WhatsApp to make calls to people local and abroad. We send as many characters as we want, pictures, videos, & emojis. We communicate in so many ways for so much less it feels ridiculous we used to pay for communication by the minute and by the character once upon a time.

WhatsApp also works on WiFi, which means you can use it without paying anything to your mobile operator; Free WiFi hotspots, work WiFi, home WiFi…

So when NetOne today announced regular voice bundles at 10 cents per minute (the cheapest of the bundles the company is offering – see below), I thought about the number of calls I still make in a week and concluded: this Khuluma 24/7 thing belongs to an era in the past.

NetOne’s trying to solve a problem they solved already with their broadband products. No one today is complaining “voice calls are so expensive I don’t know what to do?” The problem and therefore complaint people have is something along the lines of “this data is so expensive. I’ll use it but I wish it would be cheaper”

To be clear,  I have no doubt that people still make calls. There are certain things WhatsApp still can’t do. Like connect a call to a person who’s run out of WhatsApp data. And like I admit above, data itself is not cheap so such a scenario does play out often. I doubt though that people will start spending more on calls just because it’s 6 cents cheaper.

It even makes less sense that these cheaper calls are available as bundles, with the lowest rate being a $5 bundle. Essentially to access this bundle, I have to spend significantly more on my monthly communication bill. It doesn’t help that the $5 bundle is only valid for 5 days.

It’s not a reasonable proposition.

If I’m going to spend $5 more, why not just spend it on getting a bigger OneFusion bundle? Or better, just using the same note to get unlimited WhatsApp from the competition?

Here are the new Khuluma bundles:

Price ($)MinutesValidity
0.5051 Day
1101 Day
2202 Days
3303 Days
5524 Days

But even if the above wasn’t a problem, that is if some NetOne customers decided to buy these voice bundles. The subscribers may make more calls, but because the rate per minute is lower, for NetOne to make more money (assuming they want to make more money), its subscribers will need to call significantly more. It doesn’t look like these Khuluma bundles incentivise that.

If anything, therefore, NetOne is running the high risk of making less money as a result of the new product, and not even attracting any new customers or giving new reason for existing ones to stay. I think that is not a good thing for the company.

Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

41 thoughts on “NetOne’s Khuluma is a pre-Whatsapp good deal. And that is not a good thing

  1. uku ndokupererwa nekufunga, who would honestly buy such crape in a digital era nahi Net1 people. you already have onefusion and dollar a day on subscription saka izvi ndezvei? for which market are you targeting nhai?

    1. I thinks its a Performance Measurement Syndrome… where whoever is responsible for growing the subscriber base or marketing must be seen to be doing something which they can tick-off on their balanced scorecard.

      1. I think its the pressure to deliver that causing all this mess, no one is thinking at Net1 and still they have to justify the hefty salaries at the end of the month.

    2. You do not need to reinvent the wheel, only enhance it to apply to your design. Mobile Communications have 5 basic products:- viz Voice, Data, Video (motion/still pictures), Text Messaging, and USSD.

      These are packaged in various forms applicable to delivery media and subscriber requirements. The Operators are not inventing any new products but mostly just packing for selling.

      They can however get more revenue through VAS (Value Added Services) which depend on mobile applications, and as derivatives of the five basic products.

  2. I practically do everything on whatsapp now, with Netone LTE this new product is just a waste of advertising money which you could have spend on onefusion or data for more.

  3. Techzim these are exactly the same as Telecel Cross Network Bundles on *146#, im a Telecel customer and i have been subscribing to the crossnet bundles since 2013 on *146#. Rega ndiseke #tellingsome we have copy cats.

    1. there is nothing wrong with copying, but there is a problem with copying things that applied 5 years ago. as Techzim mentioned voice bundles are products of the stone age, that is why Telecel introduced the Khuluma bundles in 2012 or 2013 because it mattered then not now.

  4. Telecel calls this bundle Khuluma 263 and its marketed by GTEL, This is a colossal copying at its worst. I have always heard this product during drive time since 2014 “Telecel Khuluma 263” Netone yazora apa, at least they should have changed the name. Netone Ndo type dzaicopera nezita remunhu muclass hahahahahahahahaha

    1. True boss, I bought a Gtel handset last year and i get Telecel Khuluma Bundles every month and if they run out mid month i subscribe on *146.

  5. The bigger picture here is that Telecel has come on board as the new kid on the block in government care and this could be giving pressure on Netone given the amount of money that has been poured on them. So best way to overtake the new kid who looks all bright coming from the Northern suburbs is just to copy and paste whatever he does and look like you are a better child. I wouldnt be surprised if they have also started stealing Telecel employees to also to at least try to match up.

    1. I actually think it’s wisdom. If you can’t beat them copy them but they may need to take everyone or at least 50% because cultures and systems are not made up of individuals… LoL

      1. Netone focus is to beat Econet, but to do this copying Telecel products wont do them much good. As Doc mentioned they just need to recruit 50% of Telecel stuff like what Econet did, get the Telecel products Director and his team as well as the Technical Director and his team voti varume rovai basa. A complete culture change in Netone will signal a lot in the camp that time for copying is over.

  6. So in one week ZOL launched new Fibroniks packages, Telone launched the Data Center, Econet launches “Double data promotion”, Telecel launches “Megaboost data promotion” and Netone only responds by stealing Telecel product, Pakaipa,
    Its pressure, there was no time to think on Netone’s defense coz week racho ririkupisa nema launch after launch. Mutandiro akangoti torai icho mupfekere izvezvi apiswa na Supa kuti you possibly cant just watch and not launch anything this week nezvirikuitika.

  7. Techzim being so balanced im surprised, you have been the mouthpiece for onefusion for a while now before Econet gave u a bigger wallet. Hahahaha

    1. we love OneFusion!
      we don’t love Khuluma.
      we love EcoCash and use it everyday
      we don’t love Econet’s broadband services and I personally don’t use them

      we love products we consider good and tell our readers so.
      we don’t love products we consider bad and tell our readers so.

      it’s actually as simple as that.

      1. as a media house its very important to remain balanced and fair in your reporting supported by much research, this means you should be mature enough to seperate your personal liking of one fusion from the the job. We have never heard you talk of Africom nor Powertel products just a whole year of shouting about what you like, what about what the readers like. Clearly from the comments below you dont even know that Netone is busy copying and pasting Econet and Telecel products but you let your personal love for oneconfusion take center stage instead of being a balance reporter.

        1. I’m sorry you’re irritated.
          I understand why our methods would be irritating to some people.
          I hope you understand that we don’t have to agree on methods.

          1. Kabweza I think there is a point there, its good to accept and correct, honestly I haven’t come across any analysis on Africom, Powertel, Utande or just personal articles on which guys have moved up the larder in Techno companies or whose who in these MNOs. To Techzim Its like only three Opcos exists in Zimbabwe Netone, Econet and Telecel. and of them all only one product exists onefusion. It is good to let readers know what is the nest best deals in the market and why so that we make conscious decision to try new things and also testify. Let support remain on adverts and on your personal blog not on this forum. this forum should be neutral and very independent to maintain your integrity as the go to Tech Guys in the industry.

            1. Thanks for the feedback.

              Sincerely, I wish I could accept so that some readers like @Irritated would be happier.

              I would be lying though if I promised him and you this, which would be wrong. Opinion about stuff is our approach. And as I indicated above, I don’t at all think @Irritated is wrong to expect this. He is right. That’s just not how we do it right now, and honestly we’re not considering doing away with our opinion on stuff.

              That said, the question of Africom, they do get covered when we get to know of something new they do.
              If we do miss something, then it’s usually because the news didn’t reach us or simply that we didn’t have the resources to allocate to visiting them to ask what’s new.

              Another reason you will also see more of certain products covered than others is the impact (or potential that we see). Mobile broadband has just has more impact (in terms of number of people reached) than fixed. We have to make a choice in the allocation of resources.



  8. I feel sorry for netone, I think management or shareholders put too much pressure on these people such that they have no chpice but to just copy what Telecel does, if you look at onefusion its exactly telecel’s megaChat bundles… what can we say about the netone management?????

  9. Retrogressive, uncalled for and miscalculated. Are they now reigning in on all that free traffic from their promos. I will keep my options open so that I wont be caught off guard. Unozongonzwa ya Light and Heavy bundle kkk

  10. Maybe Telecel and Netone have now merged, hence Netone is using the name and copying telecel products. Soon they might review Onefusion to look like the telecel Megaboost.

  11. There is no monopoly of ideas, NetOne also pioneered the daily packages through their dollar a day which was launched in 2012. Thereafter all the local operators started offering various versions of daily packages.

    NetOne did not complain. After all there is still a substantial base of users not on internet capable devices who can well benefit from offerings like this.

    1. Netone has never Pioneered Shit my friend, netone has never had a data product since inception and only started copying Econet and Telecel data products last year. I have an Econet line i use for data and Netone that i used for dollar a day until Netone removed dollar a day to a bundle, i then moved to Telecel for Megabonus until it was removed as well then i had to settle for the cross net bundles which Netone has now copied. So what pioneering are you talking about here. Being a multisimer I strongly testify that Telecel is the pioneer of most products but it is let down by there communication and advertising team. Econet comes next but there products are expensive but there advertising can convince you that its worth it. Netone comes last with only the Onefusion which was again copied from megachat which was once the Hi 5, Hi10, Hi20 Bundle and Red 15 Red 30 Red 60 and Red 200 zvichidar. Techzim can confirm this in there rerecords.

  12. How do you afford to copy products and again make a loss with more than a million dollars having been poured towards infrastructure and human resource investment. The board needs to make a strong decision on Mutandiro and his crop of young executives. At least by 2nd & 3rd year there should’ve been a strong sign of revenue growth but from the POTRAZ report only ECONET showed a gain in revenue and they haven’t even poured in a cent since 2014 when they last modernized.

  13. This is the reason I abandoned my post-paid contract line and converting it to a pre-paid line. After years of supporting the Net*One business, Net*One decides to give incentives to pre-paid customers and not to those on post paid. Despite numerous complaints and trying to knock sense into Net*One that voice calls is not where they will make money and that voice calls as a service is dying; Net*One would not listen….. not that I expected them to listen anyway.

  14. Despite it being a replica of the Telecel product to me as a Netone subscriber it is good, I also get to call across networks. There is no law that prohibits copying products, Netone pamhai futi motora Mega Boosta yetelecel moisa pa $1, $2, $3 on the onefusion. This is dog eat dog world, and also recently they launched Wifi offload tongo endawo takaro kunge kumasowe. Hapana chekumirira, tinozvidawo chete. Heee copy cat chii chacho,

  15. Telecel is like a cult, they silently launch these nice to have products that no one knows about them besides loyal Telecel customers like my wife and people that make them, and again Telecel subscribers do not even tell anyone about these good offers because they want to enjoy them by themselves leaving us at the mercy of expensive Econet. The silence is so bad that even the MD or any of the directors do not even give any press statements about developments happening in the company hence becomes more like a cult. Recently my wife received an sms about Telecel Wifi zones and we went to a spot in Avondale to my surprise it is there, but they do not communicate that. How could you possibly be the second mobile company after Econet to have wifi zone and do not celebrate such an achievement with the world or your Minister of ICT. And recently i was looking to by a handset and wifi modem for my daughter and walked in to the telecel store close to home in westgate and there was this megabooster plan, nice handsets and modems selling for $10 with data which are great deals by the way but the shop attendants seemed not to be excited to explain the deals to me. If Telecel is a cult and do not communicate good products to us then they deserve to be plagiarized by Netone because that is the penalty for silence.

  16. Its not about Telecel being a Cult or whatever, It clearly shows that they have a bad and if not the worst PR person in history dong there media campaign. Whoever does PR for telecel will never get a job anywhere in Zimbabwe and is an example of bad PR and Communication management.

    1. Ruvimbo you have scant or zero knowledge of what a PR person is supposed to do and the role that person plays given the organizational structure and its communication. Telecel publicizes its campaigns from a PR perspective and what you are referring to is the ad spend which would come from their advertising budget held in a totally different office.

      The news that PR can generate is limited by the value and the newsworthiness of a news item, past a certain point editors wont publish stale or dry news. If you advocate for increased media spend based on paid for spots, space and airtime then that’s well and good but that again has a lot to do with the budgets concerned and the over-arching strategy.

      Is it possible that it isn’t about the people holding the office and more to do with budgets? Is there a profitable business case in NetOne’s splash and make noise strategy? Making noise and giving away value isn’t always good business. Already NetOne isn’t honoring most of their commitments due to heavy ad spend. If anything it is a slow sinking ship or a tyre with a slow puncture. The success of a business is measureed in revenues not noise. If you make noise and not money then you are actually sending good money after bad money.

      NetOne’s revenues are in the public domain and there have not declared a profit in years. Their ambitious campaigns are loud noises that act as a red herring taking away focus from the real questions:
      Where are the profits?
      Are they healthy as a business?

  17. As we say at Econet there no such thing as “Bad Publicity”. at a time when Netone steals a product so naked by name i would expect the media to be awash with headlines like “Telecel responds to Netone Plagiasm” “Netone Plagiarise Telecel Khuluma 365” “Telecel angry over Netone Plagiarism” “Telecel catches Netone Offside”. Telecel PR team is clearly sleeping on the Job, they need to hire PR gurus like Ranga Mberi, he’s on the job market after his relationship with Econet ended last year.

    1. Your so called guru had less press cuttings for most launched products than Telecel. look up Telecash launch, Telecel re-branding etc. If anything for every dollar Econet spent they got less free publicity pound for pound than Telecel.

      Ranga isn’t looking for a job, he is gainfully employed, don’t share ignorance as gospel truth.

    2. This is sad, unobva waita kunge Econet ndeye kumba kwenyu. You can get fired anytime and worst of all unoshanda kuCall Centre

  18. Government need to do an opportunity cost analysis and bet there money on a better horse than keep pouring money into Netone, Telecel is a better hedge vehicle to that chinese loan compared to the later cabal. Personal i feel the culture at Telecel is more inviting and receptive to innovative campaired to any government investment currently. The team at Telecel have done much given that they has not been any significant investment for a while. Probably the silence and poor advertising is more to lack of a proper sound budget compared rather than ineffectiveness of the PR team. Government also needs to step up and put money in order to get something or else they wont be different to the Russians that just milked the company without putting a single dime.

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