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So what if EcoCash only allows me to buy airtime for a dollar and above???

People near an EcoCash agent

During the weekend, EcoCash announced that the minimum airtime amount one could purchase using the platform had gone up to a dollar. This, (obviously) did not sit well with Econet users, with some even threatening to leave Econet for other network operators, NetOne to be precise.

Nonetheless, for the die-hard Econet users, there might just be one or two ways in which to hack this set minimum, but first let’s find out why people were/are enraged by this change.

Firstly, Econet chows people’s airtime

I remember before Econet WhatsApp weekly bundles were reduced to 95c (and later increased again to $1 + twitter bundles), recharging with a dollar airtime for the bundles was hustle. You always had to remember to turn off mobile data right before the recharge otherwise you’d inevitably receive the “you have insufficient funds” because your balance would already be in its 90s.

Well, Econet heard that cry and… no, not by reducing weekly bundles to 95c but by introducing the Out Of Bundle Browsing feature. Interestingly not a lot of people know about that feature, maybe because it wasn’t advertised as much, which I think was intentional on Econet’s part. I mean we all know that if Econet wants something known, they will get it known. Therefore, people not knowing about it seems strategic if you ask me.

Also, it doesn’t help the matter knowing that the default setting of the Out Of Bundle Browsing feature is ‘active’. I mean c’mon who wants to browse for 15c per MB if they can get 250Mb for a dollar? It only makes sense if you’re left with a few cents in your phone but need to just complete a pdf or image download or something without needing to buy more airtime.

So back to why people are mad at Econet for this? It’s because people prefer recharging with the few cents necessary at any given time instead of letting Econet then have the rest of it.

The Second reason is that now you can’t buy airtime if you’ve less than a dollar in your EcoCash.

I don’t think I need to explain this one…at all.


Now the important part, how can you lessen the effects of the above?

1. Deactivate Out Of Bundle Browsing.

Deactivating this feature means restricting the internet from using your airtime. So you can still keep your mobile data on and not worry about the remaining 64c in your phone because it will not be touched. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Dial *143#

  • Select option 3: Account services

  • Select option 3: Out Of Bundle Browsing

  • Select option 2: Do not allow

Once this is done, it remains disabled until you decide to enable it again for some special reason.

2. Store airtime in the Content Bundle

The Content bundle is like a little pocket in your phone. You can transfer airtime to and fro the content bundle at no cost. So you can still buy your $1 airtime, transfer 80c of it to the Content bundle and remain with the 20 to make that call. Whenever you need another 30 cents or something, you can transfer it back to your phone again… and if you happen to use only 20c of that, you can again transfer the remaining 10c back to the Content bundle. However, you cannot transfer any amount less than 10c.

Here’s how to transfer airtime to the Content account:

  • Dial *143#

  • Select option 3: Account Services

  • Select option 2: Content bundle

  • Select option 2: Transfer to Content account

  • Enter amount

  • Confirm

To transfer airtime from the Content Account:

  • Dial *143#

  • Select option 3: Account Services

  • Select option 2: Content bundle

  • Select option 3: Transfer from Content account

  • Enter amount

  • Confirm


But really, if you have the Out Of Bundle Browsing deactivated you might not find this feature necessary. Unless of course you have people who are ever checking your balance and asking to make calls or transferring the airtime to themselves.

 3. Share airtime

Now this one is not one of the best, but just had to put it out there just in case, you never know.

You can buy a $1 airtime with a friend or family or with anyone else then share it. One can recharge the dollar on their phone and transfer 50c to the other. Transferring airtime also doesn’t cost anything. Here’s how:

  • Dial *111#

  • Select option 4: Transfer airtime

  • Enter receiver’s number

  • Enter amount


Now for the last 2 options, there is a price to pay…literally

4. Use Topup Paynow to buy airtime

With Paynow, you can still purchase 50c airtime, but that means you need to have some internet connection as well as be fine with having a few cents deducted. Here’s how to do it:

  • Step 1: Visit

  • Step 2: Select Mobile airtime

  • Step 3: Choose the mobile network you want to recharge

  • Step 4: Enter amount in USD

  • Step 5: Enter the mobile number you want to recharge

  • Step 6: (Optional) Enter your email address

  • Step 7: Click on the ‘recharge me’ tab

  • Step 8: Select proceed to payment

  • Step 9: Choose the payment type: EcoCash

  • Step 10: Click on Make payment

  • Step 11: Enter your EcoCash number

  • Step 12: Click on Confirm payment

You will then receive an SMS on your phone (which has the EcoCash line)

  • Step 13: Input your EcoCash pin and press enter

 5. Airtime credit

This applies when you are really stranded and can’t afford a dollar. You can get 30c, 50c, 75c or $1 airtime on credit. Here’s how:

  • Dial *179#

  • Select option 1: Voice Airtime credit

  • Choose the amount you want

  • Select yes to confirm

 You have more ideas? Please do share….

Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

2 thoughts on “So what if EcoCash only allows me to buy airtime for a dollar and above???

  1. econet is far from people. 50c was better. now cannot buy bread. do not be greedy Econet. go back to 50cents.

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