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Econet sending flash SMS now, essentially running full screen ads for their products

I have never opted out of receiving any SMSes from Econet or its subsidiaries. I know, I’m a crazy person. If you have never used an Econet line or if you opted out years ago and are rusty on the extent of the problem, Econet loves sending promotional texts.

So why haven’t I opted out? It all started with a heavy case of FOMO (fear of missing out) and as Econet cranked up their SMS sending to ridiculous levels, FOMO transformed into curiosity. 

I wondered if there was a limit to what and how frequently they would send and I can tell you right now that if there is a limit, we’re yet to reach it. I’m never going to opt out, I have to see where this goes.

Believe it or not but Econet is actually innovating in the promotional SMS sending space. Today, I received a flash SMS and I can’t stop smiling. I had only read about flash SMSes and about how they never caught on but I’ve received one now and that’s one item off my bucket list.

Message says: Join us on the 3rd of July for the Econet Vic Falls Marathon. Register now on www.vicfallsmarathon.com & catch ZimbabweΦs Big 3 Artist Live on stage! #RunTheBig3 

Listen, I’ll be the first to admit I’ve gotten chubby the longer I’ve worked from home and that I could probably do with the exercise. However, did they need to take over my whole screen to promote the Vic Falls Marathon? I’m not too sure.

What is a flash SMS?

A flash SMS (class 0 SMS) is a special type of text message that displays immediately on the mobile phone screen without the user having to take any action to read it. 

The flash SMS displays on the full screen and displays over whatever app was on. If the phone was locked, the user will get the same full screen experience when they eventually turn their phone’s screen on.

The SMS disappears for good if the user dismisses it. The SMS won’t go away on its own though. The user has to dismiss it meaning they will interact with it whether they want to or not. There is also now an option to save the message to the inbox if the user finds it useful.

Flash SMS started out in the late 1990s and the thinking was that it was more attention grabbing than standard SMS. That’s true. However, it is also much more annoying too. Meaning its attention grab works against it when all is said and done.

Do we need flash SMS today?

Do we need flash SMS in the era of the smartphone? I think not. I already get flashes of the messages I receive in the form of notification banners. Granted, the banners disappear on their own and only appear if I’m actively using the phone.

That’s still not a problem though, there will be a notification on my lock screen and in the notification shade alerting me that I received a text. I also get to preview the first few sentences of the SMS from those notifications too.

That feels like overkill, even before resorting to taking over the full screen like flash SMS does. 

In any case, 90% of SMS marketing messages are read within 3 minutes of receipt. Meaning companies do not have to resort to flash SMS because the messages are read quickly anyway.

In the Econet case I mentioned above, I knew about the Vic Falls Marathon already. How could I not when today’s flash message was the third promotional message about it just this week. 

And even if I hadn’t heard about it, I would have gotten to a standard SMS on it in 3 minutes. 

The only instances I can see where flash SMS would be useful is when they are warning us about impending disasters like cyclones or heat waves. In those cases I can see myself actually appreciating a flash SMS.

The evidence shows that even in such cases, not all appreciate receiving SMSes from their carrier. Remember someone took Econet to court to stop them from sending COVID SMS updates and succeeded.

When the flash SMS is about a marathon happening 700km away and not for another 2 months, it’s more likely to annoy me than impress me. 

That said, I feel like participating this year for some reason. So maybe the flash SMS did it’s job, and to that I can only say, fair play Econet.

Typical inbox of an Econet customer

Earlier I mentioned that Econet sends promotional SMSes like you wouldn’t believe. You better believe because I have receipts.

Screenshot showing promotional SMSes from EconetHelp, YoNumbers, YoFootball, YoGamez, Soccerzone, CallStatus, +263767

I don’t mind these messages because I consciously decided not to opt out. 

However, I’m not everyone and I believe some may not know how to opt but are annoyed by the frequency with which Econet sends them. That’s not to mention those that don’t even know that they can opt out.

That’s why I believe that the default position should be the ‘opted out’ state. One should have to opt in to receive these messages not the other way round. 

The frequency with which Econet sends these messages makes it more likely that people won’t read them. With most of our communication happening on WhatsApp anyway, you kind of know that if you receive an SMS it’s probably from Econet.

Maybe that’s why Econet is now resorting to flash SMS to get their messages across. Well, they made this bed and they must lie in it. They desensitised us to the SMS notification and now that we don’t read SMSes as much, they must accept it.

You should also read:

Econet, what’s with the SMS spam and “stealing” from me?

POTRAZ – We Are Engaging Econet Over Sasai Spam Messages

How Econet Ruined My SMS Experience…

Econet We Are Tired Of The Elevate Marketing Messages You Keep Sending


Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

12 thoughts on “Econet sending flash SMS now, essentially running full screen ads for their products

  1. I’ve tried opting out, and they keep sending. You can even opt out from the Econet message and next Ecocash is sending the same message. Worse that Maisha Health message is a menace. A while ago there was this one about Christianity and Bible. These Econet messages just won’t stop, lmao. They just have a lot of adverts to run; promotions, giveaways, tariffs, FCA accounts, EcoLife. They’ve a whole a belt of services to exclusively haunt you. Now my message has 99+ messages and they’re just Econet promo messages lmao.

    1. Oh yeah, had forgotten that sometimes Econet ignores users’ requests to opt out. Sometimes, like with EcoSure, they opt people into services that cost money and that’s just the worst.

      They have taken over our inboxes and we await to see what POTRAZ does about it.

  2. I’ve tried opting out, and they keep sending. You can even opt out from the Econet message and next Ecocash is sending the same message. Worse that Maisha Health message is a menace. A while ago there was this one about Christianity and Bible. These Econet messages just won’t stop, lmao. They just have a lot of adverts to run; promotions, giveaways, tariffs, FCA accounts, EcoLife. They’ve a whole a belt of services to exclusively haunt you. Now my message has 99+ messages and they’re just Econet promo messages lmao.

  3. Thanks to Android 12 security updates & one ui 4.0 if u use samsung u can block irrelevant notifications

    1. I don’t know though, the flash SMS is an SMS that has fancy features so I’m not sure you can prevent your SMS provider from sending those. I have the spam filter on but these messages from my carrier are not viewed as spam. I could be wrong here though, let me know.

      So, I think your only options are to opt out or to block ALL SMSes. Some comments above show that opting out does nothing and I don’t think you want to remove the SMS functionality altogether.
      That means the only option is for Econet to be responsible and for POTRAZ to make sure of that.

  4. I think it’s something that affected subscribers should report to Potraz. It is the incorrect usage of that class of SMS. It should strictly be used for emergency situations and will have the side-effect of people ignoring real emergency notifications, if they are sent. It’s grossly irresponsible on Econets part.

    1. 100%. This is incredibly irresponsible. We have reported to POTRAZ. They have already desensitised people to standard SMS and now they want to do the same to flash SMS.

  5. Being forced to join promotion after promotion pasina kana munhu anohwina, daylight robbery chaiyo. Hapanawo here vanoona nezvemapromotion izvi vagadzirise econet timbohwine. Unozongonzwa kuti promotion yapera the winners to be announced on Facebook zvatopera… Techzim im putting you to task rowai basa chairo pamaPromotion apa otherwise tokuendesai ku Ukraine to find out about these new satellite blinding drones Russia is claiming to be using

  6. How do you get people so angry that they all call down the wrath of POTRAZ on you ?
    This is exactly the way to do it.
    Econet is usually so slick dancing in between the rain drops and never getting wet. This time they are playing with fire and are going to get burned and no-one will be on their side.

  7. Maybe i’m the one among the few lucky dudes who ain’t getting annoyed by such messages from Econet. They barely come to me but ndiri pama1 neNet1 mmm sometimes inondi pinzira mapromotional text messages kana 20 ka1,same message, i had to block reciept of all unidentified senders like Netone, Ecocash, Mukuru, Onemoney haa zvosvota izvo

  8. Hi Guys.
    I m the Luckiest one among the few ones.
    I don’t get Any of those ads.
    I m on Econet, but not on any other Econet subs except Ecocash.
    To be honest, my wife gets unlimited ads messages but not me.
    I opted out 15 years ago.

  9. Flash SMSes can be really annoying especially when they contain information that’s irrelevant to you.I Econet had some way of personalizing ads then MAYBE it might catch on.

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