With the recent ZW$ data tariff hikes in mind, what’s cheaper to pay with – USD or ZW$ now?

Leonard Sengere Avatar

For as long as the Zimbabwe dollar exists, it will depreciate rapidly and we will have to contend with regular price increases. However, we still have a multicurrency regime and prices quoted in the US dollar are a tad more stable.

Recently, mobile network operators were allowed to increase their tariffs and so we have to dance again to find out what’s the best option when paying – USD or ZW$.

Of course, the rate we will use to convert is important. I am not sure what kind of rate you get from your neighbourhood dealer but we shall work with 1:6500. Feel free to make your own conversions using the rate you actually get on the ground.

Here is what Econet will charge you:

Private WiFi + O/Peak – USD:

  • $38 = Peak 25GB + O/Peak 5GB
  • $26.50 = Peak 16.6GB + O/Peak 3.4GB
  • $20 = Peak 11.2GB + O/Peak 2.8GB
  • $13 = Peak 8GB + O/Peak 2GB
  • $9 = Peak 4GB + O/Peak 1GB

Private WiFi – ZW$:

  • $1,012,212 = 50GB [∼US$156, sheesh]
  • $589,350 = 25GB [∼US$91, my goodness]
  • $402,066 = 15GB [∼US$62]
  • $222684 = 8GB [∼US$34]

As you can see, you have no business paying using ZW$. Look at the 25GB bundle for example, if you pay using USD, you will have to pay $38 but if you use ZW$, you will fork out the equivalent of $91.

The only people who should buy Private WiFi bundles using ZW$ are those that are getting an exchange rate of at least 1:15,510.

General Data – USD:

  • Hourly Bouquets → $2 = Peak 2500MB + O/Peak 500MB (1 Hour)
  • Daily Bouquets → $3 = Peak 520MB, O/Peak 130MB
  • Weekly Bouquets → $3 = Peak 400MB, O/Peak 100MB; $4 = Peak 800MB, O/Peak 224MB
  • No monthly bouquets

General Data – ZW:

  • Hourly Bouquets → No hourly bouquet
  • Daily Bouquet → $16,701 = 600MB [∼US$2.57]
  • Weekly Bouquets → $7,062 = 250MB [∼US$1.09]; $9,719 = 370MB [∼US$1.50]
  • Monthly Bouquet → $36,885 = 1400MB [∼US$5.67]

The first thing to note is that there are way more options on the ZW$ side of the table. We only picked the ones that were the most comparable to the USD options.

There isn’t much of a difference between the USD and ZW$ options in the general data category. For example, you will get 650MB for US$3 of which 130MB of it is only usable between 11pm and 4am. Or 600MB for the equivalent of US$2.57 using ZW$. It’s cheaper to pay using ZW$ in this case but not by much

Consider the rate you can get and decide accordingly.

WhatsApp – USD:

  • $3 = WhatsApp 1 Month – Peak 400MB, O/Peak 100MB
  • $7 = WhatsApp 1 Month – Peak 1200MB, O/Peak 300MB

WhatsApp – ZW$:

  • $11,397 = WhatsApp 1 Month – 400MB [∼US$1.75]
  • $6,879 = WhatsApp 1 Month – 240MB [∼US$1.06]

The obvious choice here is the ZW$ one. You get 400MB for only US$1.75 as opposed to $3 for the same amount of data if you paid using USD. Yes, I know, there is a bonus 100MB usable in the middle of the night with the USD option but I don’t think many people take advantage of that.

For today only

Unfortunately, the above comparisons are for today only because the exchange rate is always fluctuating. On top of that, the comparison is only accurate if you get an exchange rate of 6500. We all get slightly different rates and so some will find the above misleading.

However, I do not believe anyone is getting a rate high enough to justify buying Private WiFi bundles using ZW$. Use US$ for those.

What’s crazy though is that this will change in time as the ZW$ continues to slide against the USD. Econet here jumped on the chance to charge the maximum they could to make sure they get the most they can before the rates change. This tends to happen when prices are controlled as they are in the telecoms sector.

Anyway, remember there are combos in the USD menu that might provide more value to you. You can read about those here:

Econet rearranged USD bundle menus, your favourite bundle still exists, its just hidden

POTRAZ says Zim has cheapest data in region, viral video says most expensive in world. Who’s the liar?


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  1. Cry Baby

    I’m crying right now! 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

  2. Blue🙏

    When you said, ” sheesh” and, ” my goodness” did you use some kind of telepathy cause that was my reaction exactly😂

  3. Anonymous

    On liquid home LTE wibronix (ZOL) with the recent ZW$ data tariff hikes it is still cheaper than paying in USD although they are increasing it with 50% in December and another 50% in January 2024…

  4. Anonymous

    Thus is ridiculous. POTRAZ has no shame in ever increasing data yet already Zimbabwe has the most expensive data in the world. Take for instance MTN whatsap 2.5g is only R30 for 30 dsys, which is equivalent to about $1,60 US. POTRAZ and Econet are daylight robbing and exploring citizens. Too bad.

    1. please

      Econet we need app to navigate this please

  5. Anonymous

    It;s just part of the general RIP OFF that is life in Zimbabwe!

  6. @slyafrica in connection with @sango_sam and @nyashapfavira

    Pay in ZW$ bond

  7. Anonymous

    How can I get a Zol line and for how much coz Econet has finished me 😭😭

    1. Anonymous


  8. Anonymous

    iwe Leonard, Econet actually has hourly boquets for ZWL. They’re only available during the weekend (Sat to Sun). They’re going for $4045 for a gb an hour. Reasonable. I recently find out anongowanikwa pqWeekend chete

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