We have it on good authority that Econet might stop offering eLearning bundles from the beginning of September. The cheaper bundles were extremely useful to schools who were able to buy cheaper data for students to conduct lessons online during the pandemic.
What’s the official position?
Well, we reached out to Econet representatives to get an official comment regarding why the bundles were being discontinued and they shared that the bundles wouldn’t be getting discontinued but would actually be getting a price review in line with the new data bundle pricing announced today.
This suggests there was a communication breakdown because their staff is informing interested parties that the bundle will be getting discontinued.
When we heard this we thought it was because of the black market for eLearning bundles. Econet employees were selling the bundles illegally. They were selling the discounted data to individuals not affiliated to any school. This then created a problem when said Econet employees started scamming people and not delivering bundles bought. A more extreme case saw an individual’s EcoCash account blocked after refusing to buy bundles and pointing out they felt they might be scammed.
The bundles have served a purpose
We spoke to the head of a school who chose to remain anonymous and they shared the impact the eLearning bundle had on their lesson delivery. Prior to the introduction of the bundle, teachers had to conduct lessons via WhatsApp and according to the Head, they were administering barebones content to students.
The introduction of the bundle allowed the school in question to start adding tools like Zoom, Google Classrooms and Khan Academy. Lessons were held on a daily basis and the kids benefited. If the bundles were discontinued (and schools remain closed) they’ll have to resort to weekly WhatsApp bundles and that severely limits the kind of content learners can get.
Solving the problem or suspending the service?
Speaking to Econet reps and getting clarity that the service isn’t going anywhere, will come as a relief to many who were relying on it.
Econet still has a big problem to solve with the bundles. If employees continue to sell the data illegally and hound customers that damages their brand. They have to find a way to sell the bundles to educational institutions only and maybe that’s why there is uncertainty surrounding the product internally.