By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
Better late than never, says a wise adage and it seems Africom has seen the light of the sentiment.
Finally Africom has made the move they probably should have made years ago to prop up their brand but is it just a little too late?
We caught up with their road show promotion crew and yes the crowd was easily wowed from one stop over to the other, as they raise awareness
Today Africom is not really much of a public service provider, it somehow looks like a private ISP for some corporates and a mobile solution for the elite.
Of the over 10 million mobile subscribers, Africom commands a few portion of the mega cake.
All this misconception was created by the way their brand appears or maybe someone has not been doing his job well for the past 20 years.
In a move that is likely to turn around their fortune, Africom has finally taken the brand to the owners, who are the ordinary people in the street, the consumers who have not had a clear picture of the brand.
Considering that it only costs 6cents per minute tocall Africom numbers and $10 per month unlimited calls, well this is definitely the biggest deal ever.
Their interconnection deal to all MNO; Telecel, Econet and Netone is also attractively packaged at 12cents per minute, but where are they getting it wrong.
Obviously the other major problem they need to solve is the issue of compatible handsets, you can not pick any standard handset from the streets and use it with an Africom line. This I guess is the main technical reason why Africom is probably not a hit in Zimbabwe.
Africom runs their network on a CDMA technology, this only takes handsets that support data lines, ordinary or rather these popular brands which are General System Mobile (GSM) based will not be able to work with an Africom line.
Africom will need to find a way to properly pushing their own CDMA capable handsets to the subscribers, considering their obviously attractive call rates, they may need to employ a suicidal move to bring the handsets to grassroots levels.
The deal with the high end HTC brands is a major milestone too, but pushing it to the people is a different story altogether.
They have the potential of racking millions of subscribers to their network and make profits thereafter per every call made, the time is now for the CDMA technologies to take over and see the benefit.
If such players delay the move, they may deeply regret as Zimbabwe is slowly moving into a VoIP era, a red zone where survival will only be for the fittest.