In a move seemingly aimed at competing with NetOne’s launch of financed smartphones today, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has just announced a smartphone financing offer.
Econet reached out with a press release close to the end of the day announcing “huge credit scheme that will empower civil servants and all eligible government employees to get new smartphones for free”.
Free there means zero deposit for civil servants.
We’re not sure how the two competing companies came to launch what’s essentially a similar product on the same day. We’re guessing Econet is trying to steal the thunder from NetOne’s launch since there seems to have been more launch preparation by NetOne. But who knows, maybe it’s NetOne who got wind of the developments at Econet and decided to pull it from under their feet.
Whatever is the case, it’s a week of new product launches and that’s never a bad thing for customers. New choices!
There are some key differences with the two companies’ products however:
- Where NetOne’s OneTech is targeted at all corporate customers (large companies, SMEs, government etc…) Econet is focusing on civil servants only. The civil servants market has traditionally belonged to Gtel, but interesting to see everyone getting into it.
- NetOne’s cheapest deal is $18 a month for a ZTE Blade L100. Econet says their cheapest deal is $12 but doesn’t mention what device it is. We have asked for details and will update once we get a response
- NetOne doesn’t have zero deposit. Econet is emphasizing they do.
- NetOne has international device brands like Samsung, Apple, ZTE, Huawei, Lenovo and the like. Econet is offering just the two local brands, Gtel and Astro. NetOne did say though that Astro is coming in the future.
- Finally, and most important, NetOne has free OneFusion for a year. This is where Econet will probably lose the race – they don’t have a OneFusion. Say what you like about OneFusion and how maybe it’s unsustainable for NetOne, there’s clear indication in the market that lots of subscribers love it. Econet does say though that they have “Monthly data, voice and SMS” but doesn’t clarify how much.
That said, without any additional information on the devices Econet has on offer, it is difficult to compare the two. Once we know the devices and the exact terms, we’ll certainly provide another comparison.
We’re getting the sense that the Econet offer was rushed. We could ofcourse be wrong. We looked around on digital platforms and save the press release we got in our mail, we can’t find any information about this new civil servants device offer anywhere. Not on the Econet social media pages and not on their website. That’s very much unlike Econet and it’s telling.