US$4 for a NetOne sim, symptoms of a looming sim shortage

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NetOne sim cards gained quite some popularity thanks to Econet’s service outage that left their subscribers stranded. Even now there are some reports that Econet’s data service is not fully restored in some areas. The increase in demand has resulted in stockouts of these sim cards at numerous NetOne shops where they ordinarily cost a dollar to obtain. The next best place to get one is through the NetOne agents and the going rate for sim cards they sell is US$3 in Bulawayo and US$4 in Harare.

Econet and Telecel sim cards are going for US$2 both in Harare and Bulawayo through these same agents. NetOne sim cards on the other hand are being charged a premium because of scarcity which had been present before the Econet outage but was further intensified by Econet subscribers looking for a viable alternative. Another reason for this premium seems to be a change in NetOne’s KYC requirements.

NetOne’s KYC adding fuel to the fire

To get a NetOne sim you are now required to provide your proof of residence on top of the regular copy of your ID.

Dear Customer, please take note of the new SIM card registration requirements: Proof of residence, ID and US$1 or ZWL equivalent.

NetOne SMS

Proof of residence can either be in the form of a telephone bill, electricity bill, water bill, bank statement no less than 3 months old, or government-issued documentation that has your name and your home address. These are difficult to obtain for some and the only solution is to provide a signed affidavit with a police stamp. And as you may have guessed, the queue at the police station is long and winding.

As a result, some agents are pricing NetOne sim cards as high as US$4 and ignoring the requirement for proof of residence when setting up new customers. Econet and Telecel do not have the same KYC requirements yet and so those sim cards are being sold for US$2 by agents.

eSims could ease the burden

So it’s no secret that devices that support eSims are a fraction of the total number of devices in the market. However eSims are much cheaper to manufacture, something that might be causing the shortage of physical sim cards. And so even though only a small portion of subscribers will be able to access these eSims, they can be a lifesaver to those one or two people who desperately require a NetOne sim. At the moment only Econet is offering eSims.

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  1. What

    The digital token allegedly backed by gold held by RBZ seems to be failing to arrest the free-fall of ZWL. On the forex auction the ZWL fell 15.8% from last week. The government’s diagnosis and treatment of the problem might be wrong.

    1. The Empress

      You actually believe that it fell by 15%?…

  2. Isaac

    Just woke up to use Econet & ZESA

  3. Dhiva

    kkkk same here.. tatomukawo kushandisa the combo… ye zesa n network kkk. the twins you can’t separate

  4. Inspector Muregedze

    Guys is the PINDULA site still loading (working)

    1. S. K.

      Yes, but you now need data to use it. The website is no longer zero rated. To enjoy the zero rated experience, you have to use the app.

  5. Flappy Bird

    First use of Econet and ZESA this morning.

  6. 2434

    This is not called for. There’s no shortage. It’s the KYC that’s the issue… Rather just cough up the extra and move on with life.i have to the other networks are sleeping on the wheel

  7. Mango Generation

    Seriously was considering netone for the first time ever coz this week, econet shenanigans put my livelihood in the line of fire when I had no point of retreat. Hope they sort out whatever is eating them coz eish, line of fire can sometimes go both ways.

    1. Mango Generation

      By the way, had to resort to using a VPN to post a comment coz using my line directly on mobile or tethered desktop was impossible. No idea what that means or if it matters, just thought I’d mention it

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