My Econet vs NetOne dilemma…

Trycolyn Pikirayi Avatar
Econet NetOne US$1 promotion bundle

I’m conflicted between using Econet or NetOne as my main line, and by main line I mean the one to use in my smartphone (and of course the ‘loser’ goes into the mbudzi phone). In fact, I figured that this is a dilemma that quite a number of us struggle with at some point, so allow me to be your voice for today and let’s keep our fingers crossed that someone will throw in a viable solution onto the comments section…

So initially, I used an Econet line as my main (and was very loyal to it I must say) until about 2 months ago when I figured it had become too expensive for me. Despite having heard about the OneFusion promotion one too many times, I still was reluctant to move to NetOne. But when I finally did, I regretted not having done so earlier!

The cheapest OneFusion plan costs US$5 and that might sound a bit too much because you have to pay it at once but the truth is, it’s not. In fact it’s actually cheaper than the many US$1 you will have to pay when using Econet. After all, I hear people complaining that these days the WhatsApp weekly bundle actually lasts less than half a week (3 days on average) and I think it’s probably because of the ‘new’ status feature.

However, for the purposes of standardised comparisons, I will use monthly tariffs rather than the weekly bundles since all the available OneFusion plans stretch for a month.

Let’s start with the US$5 OneFusion plan, the deal comes with:

  • 300mb data
  • 700mb WhatsApp bundles
  • 900mb Facebook bundles
  • 10 SMSes,
  • 60 on net minutes (netOne to netOne calls) and
  • 18 off net minutes (calls across all the other local networks).

Whereas on Econet for US$3.00 you will get a WhatsApp + Twitter monthly bundle with 220mb + 110mb respectively. And if you love Facebook or Instagram, you’d then need another US$3.00 to buy the Facebook + Instagram plan, not to mention the other airtime you’d need to purchase throughout the month if you need to make some calls or send SMSes.

By the way, yes I do get the fact that I’m comparing standard tariffs (Econet) to that of a promotion (NetOne) but we all know how long NetOne promotions last right? Remember the 6pm to 6am (which later became the 10pm to 6am) ‘free’ calls? So I do think we can make a decision based on that.

Maybe now the question is why the dilemma on such an obvious issue? Well, wait for it. So in my hood (Nketa 9 in Bulawayo) both the networks generally have bad reception, they both work better when everyone else is sleeping i.e between 11pm (10pm when fortunate) and 6am which then means no matter how much more bundles I have, I will still struggle to use them or alternatively I could become a night-rider (which is not so useful with WhatsApp since at night people are sleeping and rightly so… besides, it’s a bit awkward for me to be texting people at such odd hours as it potentially sends off the wrong message). Therefore, eventually, the OneFusion bundles just expire without being used much.

Secondly, I’m more interested in the regular data than in the social media packages. My problem with the OneFusion plan now is that regular data is the first to deplete. This is not necessarily because of the basic fact that 300mb data is less than the rest of the social media packages. Actually, it is because the bundles specially dedicated to social media are somehow reserved until the 300mb depletes.

Simply put: whatever Facebook or Whatsapp video you watch or download will be spent from the 300mb first, regardless of the existence of the social media packages. It is only after the 300mb finishes that you can then start using the social media packages. If only that applied to the OneFusion promotion data, I would have no problem with it but unfortunately it applies even with any other additional data you will then buy which is not so with Econet… Econet spends data respectively.

Challenge number 3: I still haven’t figured out a way to protect my airtime on NetOne like I would on my Econet line. On Econet, I could either store away my airtime in the content bundle or deactivate the out of bundle browsing. Then, I knew I needed not to make unnecessary calls whenever someone sent me airtime just to make sure it doesn’t eventually just ‘disappear’ on me.

The forth challenge is, as we all know, we have a cash crisis in Zimbabwe and Ecocash has become the most convenient way of purchasing goods and in this case airtime. So far, the only way I know how to purchase NetOne airtime using Ecocash is through

However, unlike the EcoCash to Econet account transaction (which is done offline) I can’t do this without data since the purchase is online. Of course I could try purchasing more data before the current one depletes but then again I’d need to make sure that I don’t purchase it too early as this would compromise the period in which the data bundles are valid. Therefore, to strike a balance, I’d need to constantly check my balance, but who does that???

Besides that, because it’s an online purchase, I cannot make it with my mobile data turned off which means I risk having a 99c balance by the time I get to try and convert the airtime to bundles.

So maybe I should try signing up for OneWallet to get better access to airtime? Has anyone used it before so you can recommend? Or Telecel? I’m really open to any suggestion besides the wifi suggestion because that is indeed a story for another day.


  1. user45

    are our MNO not able to provide a service whereby i opt in/out of using airtime for data.
    I know of vodafone and airtel user has more control over their airtime.or since if its data aitime just vanishes into thin air,#morecash to MNO

  2. Wellington

    Netone should fix the out of bunddle browsing issue, airtime vanishes in a flash even if you restrict data, however they have presented themselves as a better alternative. Econet of late has been so frustrating due to their poor service, convert your airtime to data and you know you are finnished as it will expire without you getting value for your money. Same applies to their whatsapp(its way expensive by the way) it takes forever you will need to have a charger close by because you will run out of battery trying to search for a better network mode. l had to change my sim card thinking that its the one with the problem after failing to get data service for 48hrs without any explanation and that was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. In short econet have taken its subscribers for granted and do not seem to care even if you walk into their offices you meet people complaining with staff who dont seem puturbed. So l have resolved my econet line will be for ecocash and receiving calls to those who are used to my old number and the new netone line l recently bought will be for data and browsing seeing its so fast too, whatsapp messages deliver there and then there might be issues with one fusion but lets not forget its a new thing and it has room for improvement. Telecel performs better too these days although they tend to be economic at times.

    1. Rumbie

      i agree with you there econet is so frustrating m losing time with loved ones because of poor network. The netone pros outweigh its cons and i think m going to switch to netone for data and internet services

  3. rolox

    i also noted my battery depletes fast on netone than buddy

    1. Brian Tau

      This I have noticed too

  4. Capleton

    netone is cheaper in terms of data charges and all but their network coverage is very poor i only connect to the internet when im in town just imagine??

  5. Paynow Topup (

    Did you know that is Zero-Rated (toll free) on the NetOne network? This means you can buy your NetOne airtime from and pay using Ecocash or Telecash (or Visa/Mastercard/Zimswitch) even when you are completely out of data/airtime? Check it out!
    And if you happen to be in darkness………you can now but ZETDC pre-paid electricity on with *No Added Fees*. For $10 ZESA token, you pay $10.

    1. Trycolyn Pikirayi

      Oh really? That’s great news…except if you want to buy data bundles since NetOne still doesn’t have an out of browsing option. This means by the time you’re done with the online purchase, your airtime is already insufficient for the bundle you actually want … and believe you me I am not just being dramatic here.

      And by the way, your service is lekker!

  6. Sagitarr

    I’m amazed at why people still want to have 2 handsets in a world that is so full of dual SIM phones? Chii nhai? Hamuremerwi here?

  7. Thabani

    I use all three, telecel on the smartphone and the other two on the ndori ndori. Telecel is the best kept secret

    1. Dr Sims

      Best kept secret indeed, don’t they have deep enough pockets to make as much noise LoL. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, the average Zimbo like myself does not have time to do all these permutations. The MNOs must just go back to basics including improving coverage, I’m thinking Mega Bonus by simply recharging then Boosting it (That $5 you talk about gives me 350MB regular browsing, limited unlimited Whats App, 125 SMSs, and over an hour of calls for a month on Telecel). Not to mention I’m paying bills and purchasing on Telecash with the same line…

  8. Anonymous

    At least with econet you have an option to keep your airtime via *143#.

  9. Gorden

    Have enjoyed my Netone line more than the Econet line as the OneFusion has its advantages. However, my issue with OneFusion is I am not on Facebook but I cant transfer the Facebook allowance to Twitter or data, why? if they can allow me to transfer this allowance, then I can as well throw my econet line in the bin.

  10. Anonymous

    Ini hangu Buddie yandichengeta.Vanhu should be educated on how much data these smartphones use yasiyana nekambudzi before we blame Buddie

  11. Anonymous

    Just thought of so much econet has done, from the only operator paying its licence fees in full. Other players are just riding free, no costs whatsoever. Considering all these challenges, I salute u econet. I will continue to stick with quality

  12. BaMatipa

    Am a fanatical buddie user. My allegiance is nt affected by these one fusion and mega promotions. I like the culture @ Econet. They are fighters. They get what they want thru effective strategy execution not thru political freebies like Telecel and Netone. They pay their taxes, they have invested more than 1bn in Zim. They are the only company nt to have gvt links. The same cant be said for Netone and Telecel. They hv paid their licence in full even though Supa might want to hide behind semantics. They may be more expensive, but for nw i am nt about to leave my buddie line for any fusions that may come into the market.

    1. Econet_Are_A_Bunch_Of_dogs


    2. John

      So you mean I should be comfortable losing my hard earned cash simply because Econet pays its license, ludicrous…

  13. Richard

    I am an avid NetOne user since 2007, in fact I use both lines but NetOne is my primary line for communication. I use one fusion and on 4G it takes care of my needs. I have consistent 4G in plenty of areas in Harare so I don’t have a problem. My main worry is that the Data bundle depletes fast usually 15 days into the month even when I restrict background data. I will only be left with the Facebook and WhatsApp bundles of which the latter gets me throughout the month. I also use Econet for WhatsApp and ecocash on my other handset. I have observed that both networks are crappy when using 3G network. The network is slower in high density areas of Harare but when on edge NetOne is effective and so too is Econet in some.areas.

    1. Anonymous

      This sounds like Mabota hahahaha

  14. Pride

    i stay in Bindura, was frustrated with Econet, especially on the depleting bundles, they no longer lasted for a month as purpoted. but their network connectivity is spot on, its always 4G. i switched to Netone after getting wind of One Fusion. at first all was rosy, i could get through the month with my bundles, which also accumulate when u buy another one before the active one expires, ie, they simply add the old bundles to the new one. their network was also spot on, with 4G connectivity in greater bindura. but of late their network is crappy, no 4G connectivity whatsoever, you cant use internet explorer on the phone, u cant use applications like facebook, instagram and twitter at all unless you do so using Opera Mini, which is also hectic by the way. so in as much as these Netone guys are making noise about One Fusion, theyre not addressing issues that are really pertinent to the user, Connectivity. to make matters worse, they dont even have offices in Bindura. saka to say the least, without proper connectivity, One Fusion yacho marara, especially in Bindura. Econet and Telecel always have 4G connectivity, and this has bn happening for months. its better kutongosiya Netone line racho, because hapana zvazviri kubatsira, sometimes you have to switch off the phone kuti maMessages apinde. theyre not serious these guys,

    1. Richard

      You say Telecel has 4G in Bindura?? Since when?

  15. Gary

    Yesterday I tried to get hold of Econet’s customer service! A nightmare at the best of times. Dailed 111 all i got was call ended. Rebooted my phone then the call went through to no option to speak to a consultant? So i had to repeat the process thinking i had missed the option number to chat with a consultant. Still there was no option. Why?

  16. Dr Sims

    Ko ve below $5 vanokwanawo here pamamonya ipapo?

  17. $$

    Econet sets e pace. These promotions are desparate attempts to outcompete econet. As for the free net1 calls, i tried them fo a week but the network was always so conjested and i nvr managed to get a clear call so I threw the simcard in the bin. I wil stick to quality rather than quantity. Econet all the way. Even in another 50 years econet wil stil b better interms of convinience and innovation, they set pace for the other operators. I tried all 3 bt im yet to find a genuine enticing factor to move me from econet.

    1. e

      do you work for econet cz ive moved to NetOne 1 for 110 mb per week is good and affordable plus somehow NetOne airtime doesn’t deplete as much as econet. on price econet needs to change especially for data 50c a day is just too much. the markets evolved.
      I go like 2 weeks a time without recharging my econet line

  18. $$

    I see people most people who are complaining about their bundles depleting before the stipulated period are not paying attention to the quanity of bindles they will have bought. If u buy a 90mb weekly data bundle & you download a lot of media(videos, photos, audio clips) u wil most likely deplete your bundle before the week ends. Its not an uncapped bundle, its jus 90mb. This means if u download 3 videos in 1 day and each video is 30mb you wil definitely deplete your bundle in 1 day. To make things worse econet is fast so if u try downloading u wil definitel succeed therby using up your bundle. In addition the new status feature on whatsapp uses up a lot of data. The more statuses you view the mo data u spend.

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