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Econet voice, data and SMS bundles going up, now it’s 43 minutes for the price of a loaf of bread

Econet Logo at their HQ, tethering hotspot

You know the drill by now. Inflation is somehow still getting worse and the ZW$ is crashing even faster. That means companies have to constantly adjust their prices otherwise they won’t be able to break even. Econet is doing just that on Wednesday.

Econet Wireless announced via their social media accounts that voice, data and SMS tariffs are going up. They have since sent text messages to their customers to that effect and you should have received one by now.

Their regulator, the Postal and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) signed off on the new prices and here’s what you will be paying, starting on Wednesday the 13th of July.

PUBLIC NOTICE


Dear Valued Customers,


Please note the following tariffs as per regulatory approval, effective Wednesday 13, July 2022.


Voice – ZWL$0.2686 per second

Data – ZWL$2.5522 per MB

SMS – ZWL$3.3137 per SMS


To access Voice & Data bundles dial *143#


To access the SMS Bundles, dial *140#


Visit www.econet.co.zw/services/tariffs for more information
—All prices are inclusive of taxes.

Tariffs adjustment necessary?

While absolutely no one appreciates price increases, this new round of tariff adjustments was long overdue. The Zimdollar has completely crashed since the last Econet price adjustments in May 2022.

Honestly, it is good for us customers that prices were not reviewed for 2 whole months in an economy with inflation in the 100s, but it can’t be good for these companies we love or love to hate.

It was last year in August when Econet called for tariff increases using the following argument:

Our headline tariffs were last reviewed in August 2020. Given the inflationary pressures experienced, we believe that another tariff review is due in order for the sector to remain viable. All our pricing is determined by the regulator using given cost inputs. The timely adjustment of tariffs, using the Telecommunications Pricing Index, is critical to our continued viability as a business.

James Myers , Econet Chairman via New Zimbabwe

Seeing as ‘inflationary pressures’ only increased since then, we really should expect more frequent price adjustments. You also may have noticed that power cuts have been getting worse lately. That right there means crazy operational costs for companies like Econet who have to run generators for their base stations.

New tariffs fair?

Dare I say the new prices are fair? I am not immune to the prevailing ‘economic condition’ and am struggling like everyone else. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t tell a fair deal from a bad one.

Check this out:

Econet to Econet voice calls – ZW$16.12 per minute. Even at the auction rate, that means US$1 can get you around 25 minutes. Am I the only one who remembers US$1 being good for only 3-5 minutes? Think of it this way, the same $700 that fetches a loaf of bread can buy over 43 minutes of talk time.

That sounds strange and I feel like I’m missing something here. Let me know if I’m tripping. The math seems to work out, if a minute costs $16.12, then ten minutes cost $161.20. That’s cheap.

There’s a difference between something being expensive and you not being able to afford it. If someone sells their Northern suburb mansion for US$100,000 that would be cheap, even if I can’t afford it. Anyway…

Econet to others calls will be increased to ZW$15.58 per minute. Even less than the on-net Econet calls. When did this become a thing?

Local SMSes will cost ZW$3.31 each. To my non-texting mind that sounds reasonable. Of course, keeping in mind that SMS has always been too expensive for what it delivers.

The data costs are high though

The out of bundle price will be ZW$2.55 per MB. That translates to ZW$2611.20 per GB. That’s on the high side. Even if you get your ZW$ by burning USDs on the black market, that means you would be paying US$4.35 per GB.

The out of bundle data prices have always been high and are always a bad deal. You cannot afford to browse that way, make sure you buy a bundle. We don’t know what’s going to happen to bundle prices so we’ll reserve judgement for when that happens.

When asked on whether the new tariffs affect the Private WiFi bundles many have come to rely on, Econet said they will unveil any changes on Wednesday. So, we will see what happens to the data bundles. Hopefully they will get the same treatment that voice and SMS got

This is not sustainable

The government, through POTRAZ, could compromise Econet, NetOne and Telecel’s viability by not adjusting tariffs regularly and setting low price ceilings. Making it cheaper for all of us struggling Zimbabweans to stay in touch and run our businesses.

Or they could allow these MNOs to charge true market prices, leading to better viability. That would be at the expense of the citizens, who are struggling enough even without unreachable communication costs.

There is a third option though. Instead of the government being the ‘good guy’ by strongarming MNOs to give out 43 minutes for a dollar, they could instead take on the hit themselves. Why should these private companies bear the burden of easing Zimbabweans’ lives when the government isn’t willing to do so itself?

The government should adjust its tax regime in times like these, if indeed they are committed to ensuring low communication costs. They can’t demand their taxes whilst at the same time demanding these companies price so low. (I know that the loss in tax revenue would have its own problems.)

We indeed could still pay US$1 for 43 minutes and yet have Econet and friends thrive if the govt forwent its cut. Will they do this? No. Will they continue strongarming private companies and promising affordable prices to the populace? Yes.

You should also read:

Netone reverses price hikes after public outcry. How much should they charge?

TelOne increasing prices for ZW$ data bundles

Why is internet so expensive in Zimbabwe?


Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

15 thoughts on “Econet voice, data and SMS bundles going up, now it’s 43 minutes for the price of a loaf of bread

  1. You didn’t mention how much the lowest worker is being in the country then you can go on and do your maths

  2. Why do we like to make excuses for these big corporations like they are somewhat vulnerable orphans or something. You know that Econet does not really have to increase tarrifs to stay afloat. Ecocash already charges exorbitant percentages for no reason yet we are so used to abuse because we have a slave plantation mentality. “Oh master hasn’t whipped us in a while it’s now overdue”, like really. How it it even any of your concern if Econet makes a profit, do you have shares or something. In other countries people pay a flat fee of less than 20usd, subscription, for uncapped internet for the whole month. With prices varying with internet speed. Yet our service providers don’t do that because they know that people like you, who treat these companies like their children, are in majority. They don’t even offer unlimited data because their prices are so high, it would have to cost like 200s of us dollars, so they a lil bit ashamed of their conduct, in this regard at least. To top off all of that, their networks are so unreliable, they should be illegal. Yet a multitude are quick to come to their defence but they don’t say anything about their mediocre service really.
    There is still some *i.diot* out there who still thinks net1 is the best service provider regardless of their latest network flop, which they haven’t fixed by the way, nearly two weeks later.

    At this point, I don’t even blame our ISP’s for sodomizing us without vaseline. It’s i.diots who are quick to say ” it was long overdue, we should be grateful”. Grateful for being molested at a slower rate, are you mad! Then then are those who say “they must also make their profit”, do you have shares you i.diot.

    I’m done with this slave mentality people have. It makes my head hurt. How can you be loyal to a company that does not know you exist, let alone care about you.

    1. I would like you to retract the Statement which say’s we are being sodomized without Vaseline by econet…as in my case i believe they are using some sort of lube

  3. Chinhu chirikukwira price vanhu vakangonyarara maCondom nxa… Condom rakudhura zvakaipa mugheto umu..

  4. Econet is sodomizing us without vaseline hahahaha. These companies need to make a profit after all, its better to pay more and receive good service hama.

  5. Please network providers improve your services. Network in Zimbabwe is a nightmare. Econet please we want WhatsApp video call and voice call back on our WhatsApp bundles package. Thank you

  6. Things WILL get worse! Unfortunately, the citizens of Zimbabwe have inflicted this on themselves for decades, and now the whole house of cards will tumble down. There’s no hope whatsoever of any positive change and Zimbabwe is about to go down the tubes, no thanks to stupid, useless zpf, who rig at will, whilst none of those so-called “polling agents” sit back, say and do nothing to stop it, and voters couldn’t care less either, but bleat plaintively when things go pear-shaped! Until such time as you lot in Zimbabwe are prepared to actually DO something to get out of the very mess you inflicted on yourselves, from 1985 onwards, you’d be better served by planning for another economic crash in your country! I have made my plan, and it’s a winner! As a Training Skip on DC-8’s, I’m actually being paid to leave this god-forsaken country and its citizens, who have, and will do nothing to get themselves out of the mess they’re in! Ciao,

  7. Due to the way the country has been “governed” since 1980, also what a lot of you voted for from 1985 onwards, this should be no surprise. You can also forget ANY form of improvement in the future as well. Not that I care anymore, I’m outta here on the 27 July, 2022, and no longer care what happens to Zimbabwe and its economy. None of the voters are prepared to give change a chance, and you’re left with the dregs of failed zpf and stupid, greedy idiots, who are only intent on keeping their rather well-paid perch in parliament intact!

  8. Where would government get money if it removes those taxes.. what u have must do b4 writing the article was to think… thats being foolish. heeeh government must remove taxes. removing them for what.

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