Please note the Econet self-care portal now seems up. The article however is still a fun read and most of the stuff we said here is very much still relevant.
[Original article begins here]
Econet’s system challenges continue and right now the latest victim is their self-service portal. Granted this will most certainly not have the same far reaching effects as last week’s actual network challenges, this downtime is no less concerning.
Who cares about some portal
The portal was introduced in March of last year. It is supposed to be a win for both Econet and its customers. Instead of calling or getting in touch with Econet every time they have a problem or want something from Econet concerning their products, customers can simply register and use the portal for routine requests.
Available services include:
- Viewing your call history, it doesn’t matter if your naughty cousin steals your phone and wipes the call history on the device itself before handing it back to you. You can always recover this and see who has been naughty.
- Update your contact information and other information such as your email
- See your PUK. This doesn’t happen as often to me anymore as I normally use the device’s security features but back in the day the most sensible way to protect your phone was to use a SIM Pin which I had to change often. Often I would forget this and I would need the PUK to unlock.
- Do other stuff outlined in our article here
For me the most useful feature is the airtime recovery tab. Here if you scratched off some of the numbers on your recharge card or if these numbers, were for some reason, not clearly visible you can just enter the numbers you can see and an x for the numbers which you cannot see. Click a button and voila you have the entire recharge code.
Forex shortages to blame
When Econet suffered downtime last week POTRAZ came out and blamed forex shortages:
I am not going to beat about the bush on these issues because it was Econet that was affected, so that is very correct that they must have had an overload on their systems and things like that. The fact that they are failing to pay, especially Ericsson. Concerning ZTE and Huawei, I think, they are negotiating with them. They really have serious problems with Ericsson….because Ericsson would want them (Econet) to pay… They are supposed to pay Ericsson and they have got a debt which they have failed to service and now Ericsson is growing cold feet in terms of coming to assist them in the network. They (Ericsson) now want some upfront payment or some big deposit to be made, but as you know our foreign currency situation is not good, so they have not been able to get that foreign currency. Not only on Econet are there issues. We have problems with TelOne on their debt and again we have been approaching the RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) who has been assisting in the best manner possible.
Personally I am not really convinced some of these problems are really a forex issue. Steward, part of the Econet family, had its shares of system woes long before the dollar was scarcer than pangolins. In fact Econet’s systems have been tumbling in a worrying sign, one right after the other like a poorly built house of cards.
I am not one inclined to believe in conspiracy theories but someone who frequently traffics in such theories recently said this to me:
Maybe they are trying to draw attention to their plight like Delta did. The government will cave and allow them to rise tariffs. These challenges are not real, Econet are just grand standing here.
Anyway these are the conspiracy theorist’s words not mine. Remember I do not believe in conspiracy theories but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I mean if I were a paranoid sort I would think the whole thing smells like somebody somewhere is switching things on and off just to get a rise out of those in power. But I know better.