By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
Econet is undoubtebly Zimbabwe`s most popular mobile operator by subscriber base of currently more than 8 million followed by Telecel Zimbabwe 2.6million then Netone still lower at 2million.
What really boggles my mind is why we have such a huge difference in a country with a population of not more than 13 million people.
Of ourse the main reason why Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has a larger subscriber base is mainly because it has been providing much more reliable services andconstantly increasing its coverage base unlike its competitors which are still struggling to provide this basic telecoms service.
What really should be a threat to these mobile operators is knowing that their main advantage regionally and internationally is not even considered an advantage.
For example in most west and eastern African countries, sharing infrastructure is a policy requisite, this simply means all players have equal coverage and you can not expect any one of the players to be boasting on coverage.
Coverage is not an advantage over other players but its a basic requisite for every mobile operator, this should be what our PotraZ should have rather pushed for years ago although is now a plan in the pipeline.
The competitors should contest on the service delivery and be rewarded by their own innovation and service expertise
It’s so unfortunate that in Zimbabwe we hear these players spending millions of dollars advertising and bragging about the basic needs any other service provider regionally and internationally are being enforced to offer first!
Thus said, I have been excited by latest promos which the three mobile operators are all offering.
Econet has pushed the Buddie zones which vary in percentage discounts across of their transmitters, Telecel has its bonus points where you can gain more points by topping up and get extra points for local calls, Netone in particular has been quite aggressive thus time around, top up any amount and get the equivalent days FREE UNLIMITED calls.
So for Netone a 1 dollar gives you a 1 day full FREE calls and $5 will give you 5 days too.
All these promotions are limited within the local networks, normal charges apply for calling other networks, this is primarily because these network operators are not willing to pay the expense of terminating calls which is not more than 9cents though.
If I had a mobile licence that’s the first thing I would try and experiment around: why not make the callers pay only the terminating fees on certain hours plus any relevant calls since we could still afford free promotional calls in our own designated time slots.
This obviously a missed opportunity by our local players which are not willing to transfer traffic to other service providers probably at all costs.
The question I would really want answered is why do we have that big gap across the providers.
Netone for example has the most appealing promos currently where you are not limited by time or regions or call whoever you want but why are we not having a stampeding exodus towards the service provider.
Surely it would make sense for all to now have two or more lines to use for convenience.
There has been serious apathy in migration as our TechnoMag polls shows that most people would rather stick to their networks.
Probably so much marketing has to be done to convince the subscribers to either migrate or see the greener grass on the other side.
I personally believe that there is no loyalty amongst users to their providers and confidence and should a new player come most people would still move but that would be contradictory considering that most people are still not being moved by these serious promos!
Lets have your thoughts!