Econet under probe

THE Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has launched an investigation into Econet Wireless Zimbabwe after Telecel Zimbabwe complained about alleged unfair business practices by its rival.

REPORT BY BERNARD MPOFU

It is understood that Telecel, the country’s second largest cellphone company, wrote to Potraz on Tuesday raising concerns over poor connectivity between the country’s mobile phone operators following a recently launched Telecel promotion which resulted in tariffs being slashed by nearly 50% across all networks.

This problem according to a statement released by Telecel yesterday started last week and is still obtaining.

“Currently, Telecel subscribers are experiencing major challenges in calling Econet numbers. On average it is taking 20 attempts before one can get through,” said Telecel in a statement. “This lack of connectivity has nothing to do with the Telecel network capacity. All our interconnect links have been thoroughly tested and monitored and have proved to be congestion-free. Calls to other local destinations, including NetOne, TelOne and Africom, as well as to international operators, and calls in the reverse direction are going through without any problem.”

Responding to questions sent by this paper on Tuesday, Potraz confirmed that a probe had begun to resolve this matter. The authority could, however, not disclose how long the investigation would take.

“The Authority has just received information regarding this matter and investigations are now in progress to establish the facts on the ground,” Potraz acting director-general Alfred Marisa said.

Questions sent to Econet were not responded to at the time of going to print.

The developments come at a time when competition in the telecoms sector has intensified as mobile phone penetration rose to 97% resulting in mobile phone operators introducing several promotions in a bid to widen their revenue base.

Early this month, Telecel introduced the Sim Card Reactivation promo which gives suspended subscribers a total of $20 in bonuses for reactivating their dormant lines.

The promotion came soon after the Mega Bonus Reloaded promo which offers an impressive 100% bonus to use for calls across all local networks and landlines.

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75 Comments

  1. it shows that Econet is about to be overtaken by Telecel,coz wats the purpose of blocking other networks

    1. If its true, that is very unethical from Econet. They are getting too big for their shoes. Hefty fines should be charged. Potraz, intervene swiftly and set the bar for such sick behaviour!

    2. Telecel should comply. Econet paid 60 million and paid the remainder of the required 137 million to fund elections. Telecel paid nothing and its 137 million licence fees is seating in the bank accruing interest that its is using to fund its promotion which promotion is aimed at stealing Econet customers. No business person will take that lying down. Am fully behind Econet although they are also money hungry sharks themselves.

      1. I am grateful for the competition that telecel providing against econet and now i must say that i am not a possesion of econet – this is no longer the slave trade and people to be sold and bought and stolen like goods – i have the power to choose whatsoever my best option – what rubbish – we all have many accounts and use the best one. So stop thinking in terms of stealing customers and start thinking in terms of competing on service because this is exactly how ou will be jusdged, sharks and all! – just my humble opinion.

      2. @hacha you are totally lost here.the issue on the ground is not of pledging towards elections but quick connectivity to other networks lest there should be an element of subbotage.thats what potraz is investigating, not anything to do with elections.mudondo pfocho-o.out of topic.

    3. VICTORY POEM PART 6:
      Zimbabweans awaiting Mugabe to lose…
      All thirsty to cheer victory with a JUICE…
      Goebels Charambamanheru is despondent….
      Knowing Zimbabweans are finally independent…
      He screams, what has hit us?…
      While Zimbabweans sing ‘how nice!’…
      Too late to change your old 3-legged horse…
      We knew this would happen ofcourse?…
      Jonathan once warned, retire from old age…
      Before joining Zanupf’s Stone Age…
      You could now be Save’s garden boy…
      After you mocked him ‘Teaboy’…
      Hezvo Machinja voti bwaaa….
      Kumira nemafaro kuti twaa.

    4. I totally agree

  2. econet is there pakungotibira chete they just want profits only we are now being given 10%discount all the time econet is making over a billion every month were is that money going havasi kana kudeveloper in this country havana maproperties in this country our government should do something about this

    1. Why do you say they are making a billion dollars??They dont even make $200 million in profits for the whole year as yet.Check your info

      1. No he meant Zimbabwean dollars.
        Besides Econet is trading in bad faith by blocking other service providers. The consumers suffer at the end which is unnecessary. It’s not the right way to capture the market.

        1. taura haho Akinde.if econet want to capture the market,then they must desist from such unfounded behaviour of theirs but rather follow suit and introduce promotions like what netone and telecel are offering.despite them having the widest network coverage,ngavasatambisa mukana because this world is moving fast to the business minded.they will regret.

      2. 200 big ones in a year – even this is enough money – they use our radio waves with our permission

    2. Econet paid my fees

      The Econet Development Foundation has invested in the following areas:
      •Education for orphans and the under privileged children
      •Entrepreneurial development
      •Environmental protection
      •Business Leadership
      •Agricultural Development
      •HIV and Aids
      •eHealth

      All programs are run at the sole discretion of the Group Chairman Mr. Strive Masiyiwa

      1. Econet paid my fees

        So dont say haina zvaikubatsira.

        1. Need to undestand CSR. What figures are we looking at against what ?

  3. econet has always been the greediest theyre always on telecels back every time telecel does something for its customers they are reactive trying to present a we can do better outlook

  4. Econet has totally failed izvozvi ndave kushandisa line re musangano Pasi ne ECONET.

    1. Bussiness is not for votes, do that at the rallies of your political parties.

      1. Then we can vote with our feet out your door mister

  5. Patie Musangano

    Econet has totally failed izvozvi ndave kushandisa line re musangano Pasi ne ECONET.

  6. Econet never forced anyone to join them.Just leave them if u feel they are not giving u your money’s worth.Some of us are happy though and will stay.

    1. Ranger warova off topic apa. Dondo chairo

    2. you are so right these telecel people and their sponsored commentators here should be shown were to jump off. Varwadziwa nei? isu ve econet dont even want these telecel pple calling us for hours on end as if we have nothing to do. Econet sungai more. Asingade ngaasiye ongafuniyo kayekele

      1. Ranger you are just an ignorant oke! Econet ino ruvoCash wangu. I don’t think you buy airtime at all. If u did u’ld understand… #Punk

  7. @ ranger look closely at your comment see if it in line with what is being commented here

  8. Econet has invested adequate infrastructure to ensure its customers enjoy quality service .It would be unfair to reap where it did sow on the part of Telecel.

    1. What do u mean Telecel is reaping where they did not sow? Is Telecel not paying the interconnection fees that it is supposed to pay to Econet? The problem here is that Econet is fully aware that Telecel is providing real value for money. Econet’s Buddie Zone is shambolic to be honest. Telecel’s Mega Promotion is always on point. POTRAZ should rein in Econet. I am on both networks and at the moment I am struggling to call anyone on Econet from my Telecel line. Its next to impossible. Even a blind rat can see what Econet have done here.

    2. There is NO Quality service from econet. Their service is expensive and they are not the holders of the fastest network in both voice and data in Zim. Their serive also does not have quality control.

  9. At first it was about NetOne and all of us were convinced that NetOne was wrong, now its on telecel, if its true, econet is wrong!! @ranger and @liki wiki, imagine if eonet was zesa, do you think we would have got per second billing?, eocash?, buddie zone?, get 500 bonus points and be given $1? I believe all econet customers got these “promotions” as a result of telecel innovations please check.

  10. Econet is now behaving like Zanu PF which is allergic to change,,the economic system of today is a free market one in which the most innovative inevitably become the most successful.

  11. don want to baptise liki wiki comment by responding all i can say bout him/her z dat he z a DESTITUTE of common reasoning

  12. I think people have expressed their frustrations on the matter. It also proper that the issue has been brought to the attention of the regulator. The regulator, as a public protector, is already on the ground gathering information. Let’s therefore wait for the regulator to come back to us with an explanation of what is going on. Unfortunately the responsible parliamentary portfolio cannot be roped in since parliament was automatically dissolved on June 29. But post July 31 we anticipate the new parliamentary portfolio to be seized with this matter.

    Econet is a good brand and we hope brand managers there should appreciate the danger of unethical behavior, especially regarding reputation. Competition is encouraged to promote fairness and true price discovery. Without competition product innovation is stifled, products and services are often overpriced and customer care is practically non-existent.

  13. progressive zimbo

    yay, finally its catching up with you ECO-THEFT! @kitsi, you are so right, econet has never had a game plan. They have always played on the back on innovations brought about by others, esp Telecel. I used to be a ‘proud’ econet subscriber until they started to preach one thing and do another! Since my move to telecel life has been a breeze, except for the the latest stunt pulled by Econet recently, safe to say, i now have all my family and ‘buddies’ on telecel now, MEGA ndiyo ndiyo! BIG UP to TELECEL for putting its clients first! Go ahead ‘TELL SOMEONE’.

  14. What Econet is doing is unfair business practice. You don’t overcome competition by doing unethical business practices. Tele-density rate is now 97% which means now the situation in the telecommunications industry is tough with everyone fighting for the current customers there are less simcard activation now but there is fight for switching customers, as long as Econet is doing what it is now doing there is going to be a Problem and they will face a decline in the number of subscribers. A study i conducted shows that Zimbabweans are very price sensitive market and they need a company that gives them value for their money which i believe what Telecel is doing. Imagine if TelOne had to remove all your equipment from their exchanges how would you feel. Remember the golden rule do unto others as you want them to do unto you.

  15. Econet has shown how unearthical big businesses can be. I hope Potraz will not be corrupted by these greedy people. Econet your strategy has backfired, we will buy more Telecel lines and leave you coz maakufarisa, makajaira maprofits ari exorbitant but in an open market scenario hazvigoneke. If you change your ways we will support you sezvo muri vamwe vedu (locals)

  16. Buddie zone.A promotion full of chicannery .on my way to TELEZONE

  17. If this is true, Econet you have lost your founding values. As a company founded on Christian Values you should, “do unto others what you would like them to do unto you”. Mboweni if you were Strive, what were you going to do. If this is true then you have undermined the authority and prayers Pastor Tom and Pastor Chris make for you everyday. What lesson are you giving to the world.

    Yes every one has to get their reward for investment, but do no do what the “heathens” do. Do not play their game for that favour bestowed on you might be transferred to that despised rock. Telecel continue that innovation.

  18. No wonder why Econet was kicked out of Nigeria, using dirty tricks to subdue other service providers, and at the same time keeping high tariffs, Its a disservice to the customers. Portraz
    must act and act very fast. Zambia charged its three mobile companies for poor service at the expense of customers. We want quality as opposed to quantity service.

  19. What an unGodly practice from those who protray themselves to be Godly. I hope they are fined heavily.
    Econet got were they are by subscribers being sympathetic to their cause, now they tend to forget.

  20. ECONET yagara inongotinetsa nyangwe isu ma blackmarket “CAREER VOIP TERMINATORS”. They just dont want to see clients being offered a cheaper rate. They will fight and disconnect. Manje tiri tose madhara kusvika zvanaka . Tichatamba tose until tajairana. Chave chindindindi game remurima.

  21. imi manga musingazive here kuti big businesses have never been good for society.The problem here is econet has become too dorminant within the market .They do what they want whether with clients or competitors and thats why they blocked the entry of mtn into the zim market , so that they could fully exploit the market.Rememmber econet only brought per second billing when netone had taken the initiative .Pese apa vaitibira mari .An their promotions are totally fake.I have always told my wife there is nothing called buddie zone , it doesnt exist , its just a means of getting money out of you.And there is that send txt message promotion which charges 20 cents per txt .Zvese izvo hapana mapromotion aripo apa , kubira vanhu chete.God i wish , ours was like the south african communication market , where real promotions exist.

  22. Running a Mobile Telecommunication License is a national Security, national strategic thing. Econet is playing with fire. All the sympathy they had from zimbabweans is going to Evaporate soon. They think that because they are privately run and dominate this sector they can do what they want with the daily lives of people of zimbabwe. POTRAZ should fall like a tonne of bricks on Econet dirty tactics. POTRAZ might be hamstrung here as well because Econet is their biggest customer in terms of contributions. Politics side MDC is in Econet pocket already through Masiiwa. Now econet think they can do as they please.

    Government has powers to intervene and bring sanity. In UK Sky Television is 100% private but british Government stopped it from selling all its shares to one person. This is all because this is a powerful national institution which can not be allowed to be dictated by an individual no matter that the state has zero stake in it.

  23. Ahaa let me go and buy Telecel line sikhathele ngebuddie zone ebuya abantu belele ha! Bt lani bantu beTelecel akelifake amaBooster yonke indawo

  24. WILLARD MUBVUMBI

    These two organisations should sit down and iron out their differences. Econet is innocent until all the investigations are done, after all these are only allegations. Currently, Telecel is enjoying the cut-throat competition not taking the overheads into consideration. This type of competition is unhealthy and could destroy businesses. The endusers(telecel subscribers) might be happy becoz of the prices, but the inferior quality of the market offerings will make them think twice.

    1. @ willard i have a telecel line i was trying to call someone with econet and i failed yesterday. I ended up thinking kut my fon had no airtime but no. So thur must be something up on Econet’s side

    2. Econet will be judged by the people – and we can acti immediately we dont have to wait for potraz for that. Why should we protect the businesses like white elephants?

  25. the truth is econet yadyaira kubira vanhu ,manje kana vachifunga kuti tichatiza telecel hazviite vanyangira yaona…to telecel keep on the good work you are doing we are behind you cause you care ab
    out us

  26. Willard i hear you , you are coming from the point of interconnection fees , its true maybe telecel is not paying interconnection fees on time and under such situations i think econet have a right to do so becoz it will hurt them financially nomatter what potraz says about the matter.But i think the main issue people are concerned withis is the inability of econet to offer good value promotions to its clients despite having a huge highly supportive client base , at the same time twumasmall players like telecel and netone vachipa mazipromotion .Zvadaro woona econet yakusabotager to make sure thekuti mapromotions etelecel or netone asabudirira

  27. The problem is telecel’s populistic aproach to business. You cant congest infrastructure with nonprofitable endless promotions without proper investment in infrastructure

  28. Econet used to refile trafiic for other operators. Our authorities were give info but looked on the other side.Potraz always dance to their paymaster Econet.Strive is not an angel takagara naye worked with him tinomuziva.

  29. Popi please be an engineer urimuposotori ?

  30. I have been against Econet business practices since 1999. Back then NetOne was competitive. The approach at Telecel is more suited to the market. The guys @ Econet helpline won’t pick up your phone and majuice card always have problems. Regai tiite maline mairi mairi sevamwe tione. Vakaramba kusponsor bhora isu tiri kuvapa mari.The so- called christians @ Econet should read Proverbs 11:1 which talks of a cheating pair of scales is detestable to the LORD. Econet when was the last time you listened?

  31. That is the problem with big business. They take customers for granted forgeting that they are where they are bcoz of these people. I have been with econet since its inception. I have endured years of cheating and general abuse by this company. I now have net1 in addition. Net1 is not very efficient but they are honest and their promos are genuine and benefit customers. But look at buddy zone! Its just a product of criminal minds. Let me rush to buy myself telecel sim card

  32. Potraz looking for answer fom econet as we are talking. The lavish lifestyle potraz is enjoying is coming from Econet as the biggest network but other operators can also grow and offer better and cheaper services.

  33. Potraz, please let people migrate freely between networks while retaining their phone numbers. It’s an important step to increase competition between mobile operators and will allow for competitiveness and value for the general public. This is especially important seeing as mobile penetration is fast approaching 100%. Thank you

  34. Econet pliz try ur best dnt act like zanu ,dnt b jelours maan” sis

  35. Telecell depends on Econet infrastructure for its promotions. They do not invest in their own infrastructure. When they do these promotions they need to know that this can do to traffic and wether the infrastructure in big enough to avoid congestion. Econet built the infrastructure over the years and is still paying for it. Telcell is good at the promotions because they have no infrastructure to pay for except the controlled inter connection fees. As a result they device promotion schemes that will hurt Econet who have fixed costs to pay monthly. How do you reduce rates by 50% and stay in business when you have sunken cost on infrastructure and you can do nothing about it. This is a bad marketing game by Telecell who are forgetting the hand that feeds them is econet. You play a game of soccer with aperson with legs when you do not have legs and you cry that he is not letting you score. Why did you not opt for a debate contest instead as you also have a mouth too.

    Why come to the public and not go to Econet and find out why your customers are not getting through Econet lines? It meant to win customers over isn’t it?
    play a game in which you are competent , otherwise stop crying.

    1. Ah there is no need to go humbly to babas door and pleed to run a competition – the players are on the field and your friends, jonah, just got a red card – beware it is not a whale that eats them haha

  36. eye for an eye, telecel yacho ngaiitewo the same to econet, if they are so sure kuti thats what econet has done.

  37. Its unfortunate that Econet finds itself threatened by Telecel’s innovative strategies to such extent.Its high time Zimbabwe standadises and enforces prudent business practises.See how it all comes down from a seed of political nonsense.We the young generations will rubbish that bull.

  38. As long as the country doesn’t care to sacrifice and train specialists in frequency management, planning and monitoring, compatibility (interconectivity) monitoring, tarrif interpretation, computer networking etc. then even the current probe will produce zero results. Telecommunication Regulation calls for very SMART minds, beyond the normal Engineering degree as it is a very specialised area. How do you enforce regulations if you don’t know how things are working and what is going on. Once an operator knows that you don’t know what is going on then they will take advantage as in this case. Competent engineers (trained specialists) need to be put in place and then specialists in Law are also needed. I think this is what is missing here! Salaries in this area are normally among the highest in any country (£5500-£10000/mnth is quite common) because of the nature of work in this area and this is a potentially money spinning area from penalties, licences etc.

  39. Masiiwa one word for you and your network Remember Joshua Nkomo. Would he allow what you are doing? If it wasn’t because of his intervention would you be in existence?

  40. Iwe tutani, nyange vakasasvika billion dollars but common sense should tell u kuti by virtue of them being biggest network varikuita mazimari and vanehutsinye. Its surprising kuti munhu akaita sewe unotoita tunharo tusina nebasa rese. Econet irikubatsira ani???

  41. Ndizvozvo….iyo Telecel ngaitange yawana licence kana ichida zvekudealer ne econet,…mutemo hauvatendera kuita interconnection nema unlicenced parties…ngavatovhara zvachose kuti ma 25 attempts avharane zvachose

  42. econet is right

    According to a statement released by econet wireless today is that telecel’s licence exipired on 2 June 2013 and such econet wireless is obligated to disconnect telecel from it’s network. So please Telecel do us a favour and go renew your licence.

    1. There i was thinking that econet was a network, not a regulatory authority – were they instructed to let telecel go by potraz? you dont think they would have been eager to blame potraz? but instead they are vigilante and that is ok with you? well not with me because they dont damage telecel but they damage many individuals who are using the lines

      haha i would not be supriszed if they suddenly ‘find’ such a letter to explain their actions – back dated of course…

  43. if Telecel’s licenceexpired Econet ndiyo yaPotraz here. Econet bullies its customers and competitors, is arrogant and is slowly behaving like a small god in this country.

  44. econet is really a tragic story. Once upon a time i was in love with econet and masiiwa’s struggle. It represented the triumph of good over evil. but hey we have come a long way.econet promotions cheat clients; data costs are extortionist. They even have the temerity to throw in a few bible verses! I even talked to some econet jnr managers as a concernd subscriber that they r abusing & eroding the immense goodwill that existed for their company. Just a reminder…even big companies fail

  45. people lets be objective, the story is econet z under probe rite. Nathing hz been proved as yet so why shld we be on econet’s throat basing on speculations. Ts not yet proved wat hz only been proved is that telecel has not yet paid its license and by law econet z not supposed to inter-connect with a company wc z illegitimate or wc z operating outside law! Thts a fact. For those who do not know Econet actually gets money frm telecel call thru inter connection charges so by not allowing calls frm telecel thy will be avoidin gret potential revenue wc z obviously nt prudent on their syd. Am sho econet z within d confines of law

    1. hey my friend are you blind to the in and the out that is happening each week or month? we can forgive once off actions but now its just looking bad. how can we be objective when some million people have by one angry manager decision at the top suddenly and without warning or explanations even, been cut off from the other millions? man you are a true zimbabwean when you can say lets be objective about that. I say lets demand answers and action immediately. Econet are acting at our pleasure only with our airwaves – never mind their money, we can take it back if they are not playing the game.

  46. Econet has to be kept under control, esp steward bank uhmmm

  47. Telecel is unregistered thts why econet is shutting down its coNnections, its the law

    1. Econet’s bully tactics again!! They are bankrupt in terms of innovation and only thrive on stealing and riding on other network’s ideas to drive their business. They only make a lot of noise in their camapaigns because of their financial muscle. They are feeling the heat and are now playing god by usurping POTRAZ’s role as a regulator. If they are sincere about not willing to deal with an unlicensed operator why are they allowing their calls to terminate on Telecel’s network and not vice-versa. Consumers should be given the choice to choose their service provider and not be locked into a network that is insensitive to their needs.

  48. Telecel are no longer possible until Telecel is licenced

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