If you’ve ever invested time in any literature you’ll know that for any story to be great; there needs to be conflict. If you’ve bought WhatsApp bundles from Econet recently and you looked at the headline, you’ll probably understand the conflict in this story.
WhatsApp bundles from Econet used to just work but it seems those days are now just a distant memory. Personally, I had an experience that turned into the straw that broke the camels back yesterday.
I’m usually connected to a Wi-Fi network so I rarely suffer through Econet’s WA bundles but yesterday I had a humbling first-hand experience. On my way home I passed by the shops and as the person, I was with went into the shop to buy a few things, I had a few minutes to myself and I decided to open WhatsApp and chat away. In that short five minutes here are some of the things I could NOT do:
- Couldn’t send or download media. ( A 32 kB picture took me more than 3 minutes to download. It failed a couple of times)
- Couldn’t download Voice Notes
- Couldn’t open statuses (as they took too long. More than 10 seconds on average)
- When you hit enter to send a message (containing text only) it takes a few seconds before it sends that as well
- Couldn’t download documents
I was rattled but as you know with networks there are a number of things that affect networks at different times and I wasn’t pissed of yet at that point. I did tweet out that I couldn’t get anything done.
How do people survive on @econetzimbabwe WhatsApp Bundles?? can't even download pictures on this thing 😮😮😮 piss poor
— Fari (@FariM9) December 12, 2018
The response I got was quite weirdly asking me which device I had, which I thought was strange but of course, if it helps to get to the bottom of things then why not cooperate. So I replied stating I have a Xiaomi Mi A2 and then the support team asked me to DM them. That discussion is still on-going but something else popped up that led me to believe this had nothing to do with my phone and everything to do with the network.
This morning I stumbled another fellow Econet user complaining about his experience on Twitter.
This led me to just do a quick search on Whatsapp bundles and quickly I realised that many people are struggling to actually use these bundles that they are paying for.
Clearly, there are a number of other customers are going through this and one wonders if it’s even worth paying for these network-forsaken bundles.
ECONET NEEDS TO DO BETTER. I don’t use either Telecel or NetOne so I can’t assess what the experience is like on those other networks but the first-hand experience I’ve had with Econet has been very poor of late. I don’t think it’s the phone either because I switched phones a few months ago and the horrible experience has carried over.
We contacted Econet to further understand why the experience with WhatsApp bundles has become so infuriating and at the time of going to press and their response was as follows:
Over the weekend Facebook made further IP changes to their media cloud (essentially moving some of the media content outside of the IP range assigned to WhatsApp and Facebook bundles) and thereby affecting the access to Facebook bundles for some of our customers.
We are evaluating the extent of the changes and whether we can determine if the IP range is still unique (and not shared with other public cloud assets). We will then update our bundle access accordingly so that normal service is restored to all of our customers. Unfortunately, Facebook does some of these changes without prior warning to its telco partners, thus affecting telco customers.
The change is therefore beyond our control even as we work to address it. Any inconvenience caused to our valued customers is sincerely regretted.
Sounds a lot like what NetOne said when OneFusion bundles started disappearing nicodemously. Why Econet hadn’t notified customers earlier is beyond me but now that’s the official position on why your WhatsApp Bundles haven’t been working as exercised