My Econet vs NetOne dilemma…


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.

Quick NetOne, Telecel, Africom, And Econet Airtime Recharge

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