NetOne gave the nation a shock when they increased their data bundle tariffs by a significant margin. They had announced that prices would be going up today but few would have foreseen the entry level 10GB package’s price going up by over 3.5 times.
The memes were flowing on social media about how ridiculous the new tariffs were. Many were pointing out that most Zimbabweans do not even earn the ZWL$99,000 NetOne was demanding for its 80GB package. Which is true if we consider Zimstat poverty statistics.
Users were not amused.
One twitter user summed it up nicely:
NetOne reverses course
NetOne could not ignore the cries that their customers let out when they saw the new tariffs. The feedback was loud, incessant and sharp. NetOne had to respond,
Review of tariffs
In light of the recent tariff reviews, NetOne would like to thank our valued customers for your feedback which is greatly appreciated and is of paramount importance to us.
We are in the process of looking into all the concerns that you have raised and we will keep you posted on further developments.
Reason has prevailed at the state-owned mobile network operator’s headquarters. While they ‘look into’ our concerns, they have reverted to the old prices.
Earlier today, we noted how the new tariffs would price everyone out, driving them to WiMax and Wibroniks. On social media people were encouraging each other to switch to Econet or even Telecel. However, considering that the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe had okayed the new prices we were sure that Econet and Telecel were going to raise their own prices to something similar. If not for the push back we could have had to settle for those prices as the norm.
Even if the competition would not have raised their own tariffs to what NetOne had, they would have been empowered to get a little extra than they had planned. That is because although we resisted NetOne’s exorbitant prices, we are all painfully aware that prices have to go up. Such is the Zimbabwean economy with its depreciating Zimdollar. We are not opposed to tariff price hikes but whatever new prices still have be within our reach. They cannot be more than our salaries.
I imagine the Econet and Telecel teams who could have been looking to go even higher than NetOne are thanking their lucky stars. NetOne became the guinea pig for them, testing out the market’s limits for everyone else. NetOne gets the bad publicity and Econet and Telecel come out as heroes even if we don’t know what they were planning for us.
What range of prices would you consider fair?
Like we mentioned, prices have to go up. NetOne will be coming back to us with more reasonable hikes. But maybe we as the customers can help let them know what we will and will not accept. So, please share what you would consider acceptable prices for the One-Fi bundles. We’ll share all of it with NetOne. It will then be up to them to weigh their costing calculations against what the market can accept.
I gotta say though, its lovely to see social media be put to good use. Ya’ll berated a huge corporation into tracking back on price hikes and this should be normalised. We should always engage with these companies and even the government. If they proceed with whatever it may be, they should do so knowing where we stand.
We are allowed to go overboard with our conspiracy theories, even as some were suggesting that NetOne’s price hikes were intentionally too high to price out the masses. Those peddling that theory imagined the govt was trying to get the loud anti-government Zwitterati off their favourite platform. That’s probably not the case but now we live in a time when the technology allows us to share such theories with the world. In this case, it worked to reverse a crime against humanity.