ZOL Says Prices Have Not Changed, Mangudya And Mathematics Say ZOL Prices Have Increased

ZOL, Liquid Telecom

Today ZOL had the most interesting announcement of a price increase ever. Their announcement started thus:

Dear valued ZOL customer

Zol is excited to announce the increase of data to all capped packages as of 1 April 2019. This effectively decreases the price of data per GB. ZOL understands that data is crucial to you and believes that this will enable you to get the best out of your usage and gain even more value.


The actual announcement of the price increase came later as a ‘by the way.’

We would also like to advise you of a price alignment which will take effect from 1 April…

They go on to explain that this is not an increase in prices but just an adjustment to reflect the recently announced monetary policy which introduced the RTGS$. ZOL then explicitly said their base USD prices have not changed but when you pay in RTGS they will apply the prevailing interbank rate which is currently 2.5.

No need to spin

We I am sympathetic to ZOL and other service providers. They have so much to contend with in this economy and price adjustments are one way to remain viable. However, I am disappointed that ZOL decided to spin a simple pricing change and spell it as an exciting piece of good news. The spin is untrue on multiple angles:

Mangudya said…

Well, one of the things that the RBZ governor explicitly mentioned in his delivery of the monetary policy statement was that the RTGS dollar introduction should not result in price increases. He said, all debts and prices that were denominated in USD will become denominated in RTGS dollars without applying the rate.

To be honest, the Mangudya angle is just an academic point otherwise, I personally thought it was ridiculous the moment he mentioned it and when he elaborated on it later. I still mention it here because ZOL said it was the basis of their price ‘alignment.’ It’s duplicitous for them to say they changed prices in response to the monetary policy when a price change contradicts the explicit dictates of the policy itself.

This is why I insist ZOL should have just called the price increase by its name and not attempted a spin. They are now tripping on their own yarn. Besides the academic point, ZOL still increased prices, no matter what they say:

Price per GB

ZOL explicitly says the increases they made to data allocated to capped packages resulted in decreases in the cost per GB. This is not true. Here’s the actual change in price per GB:

Capped PackageOld Price Per GBNew Price Per GB
Lite (Was 25GB and is now 40GB)$1.96$1.81
Basic (Was 35GB and is now 50GB) $1.69$1.95
Family (Was 75GB and is now 100GB)$1.85$2.23

The table shows the first package is the only one that resulted in a cheaper price per GB. The general trend is that ZOL actually increased their pricing per GB.

An interesting side note is that ZOL pricing favours folks who buy less than those who buy more. This is a skewed pricing regime.

USD base

ZOL said they have not changed the USD ‘base’ of their pricing. The only problem is, the prices they quoted in USD ceased to be ZOL prices on 31 July last year. ZOL has not had a USD29.00 package for more than half a year. This means the prices they have just announced as USD prices are new and should be evaluated as such.

Since ZOL said they are applying the interbank rate, we will convert the current prices from RTGS (we are all paying in RTGS) to USD and then compare that price to the new USD price:

PackageOld Price Converted to USD at Interbank rate New USD Price
Family Essentials$55.60$89
Family Entertainment$94.00$149.00
Modern Family$126.00$199.00
Turbo Pack$203.60$399.00
Wibroniks Unlimited$71.60$72.00

The last two entries in that table validate my rationale. The wibroniks prices remain unchanged in RTGS terms but to come up with the USD prices, ZOL simply divided the current price by 2.5. Exactly what I did to their other current prices and thus it shows in USD terms ZOL increased pricing as well.

ZOL should just have honestly communicated that they are raising their pricing in response to the state of the economy. We would have understood. Spinning some funny yarn of how they are bringing forth a sweet deal is cheap and insulting propaganda. We have enough of that in this country already please.

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11 thoughts on “ZOL Says Prices Have Not Changed, Mangudya And Mathematics Say ZOL Prices Have Increased

  1. I think you need to actually take the old prices from late last year before the 50% adjustment and accept them as base USD and then compare, rather than try and convert the old price to USD because i think this is where your maths might falter the ZOL prices were always assumed listed in USD until Mangudya dispensed with the “1 is to 1” mantra

  2. I see nothing wrong with what Zol has done. Your rationale is off as is a common problem in zimbabwe.for 35 gig of basic the price was around 49 usd or rtgs or ecocash as the government said it was one to one. They have added 15 gig and only charged 39 usd for this which is very fair. If they were allowed to apply black market rates they would have charged 49 multiplied by the black market rate for rtgs or ecocash.

  3. That’s not the point why are they spinning it. Their pierce have definitily gone up… Is not mine they aiming to be the cheapest anyway… They have a monopoly and are using it… Fortunately I’ve got telone so I have a choice and are sticking with them… So far so good… Same for any other service if you not happy just move over…I use netone for a while now and I got no complaints

  4. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to make these assessments. I don’t think there’s any zol customer who believes they haven’t increased their prices. You are spending too much time on something you can’t change, just to be considered “right” and analytical.

  5. Hello TechZim,

    I would like to point out that the above article does not reflect an accurate position. It assumes that our prices have increased in USD terms whereas we have simply reverted to 2017 USD base prices.

    If you look closely, we have decreased the prices per GB as illustrated below:

    *was 25GB now 40GB

    USD BASE prices since 2017

    Price Per GB before Data Cap Increase
    USD 1.16/GB

    Post Data Caps Increase Pricing Per GB
    USD 0.73/GB

    Decrease in GB in USD Base Price
    43 cents cheaper

    *was 35GB now 50GB

    USD BASE prices since 2017

    Price Per GB before Data Cap Increase
    USD 1.11/GB

    Post Data Caps Increase Pricing Per GB
    USD 0.78/GB

    Decrease in GB in USD Base Price
    33 cents cheaper

    *was 75GB now 100GB

    USD BASE prices since 2017
    $ 89.00

    Price Per GB before Data Cap Increase
    USD 1.19/GB

    Post Data Caps Increase Pricing Per GB
    USD 0.89/GB

    Decrease in GB in USD Base Price
    30 cents cheaper

    I am happy to engage with you further.

    1. Tinashe, do you realise that if you insist that the last time ZOL charged in USD was in July last year, you are also stating that from August last year up to the introduction of RTGS dollars, ZOL was practicing multi tier pricing which was said to be illegal?

  6. Your article is misleading at best, and potentially even blatantly inaccurate. Why are you applying a rate to the old charges when the USD price has existed since last year? All ZOL have done is simply apply the prevailing rate to their already established price in USD.

    1. The prices you refer to did not exist since 2017. They existed up to July 2018. When ZOL changed pricing twice before this time they didn’t tell us we could still pay USD29. If I went with my cash (I might have actually), I would pay $49 in USD cash for the Lite package.

      It wasn’t ZOL’s fault, the ridiculous 1:1 parity was not fair. However ZOL must just state things as they are and not to trojan horse a price increase as good news. That is not sincere and is insulting.

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