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Data: New battleground for mobile operators

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Mobile operators have shifted the battleground to data, launching a number of packages in the competitive sector.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

Mobile-data

Telecel Zimbabwe has commercially launched Wifi zones expanding its previously limited service. This comes three days after Econet Wireless Zimbabwe launched its new product, Wifi for kombis and a week after NetOne unveiled new products, One-Fi and One-Cliq to anchor the company’s thrust, as it shifts from being a mobile operator to a communications services provider offering a wide range of products.

In a statement released yesterday, Telecel said the Wi-Fi zone service allows Telecel subscribers to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi hotspots using their mobile phones or any other Wifi compatible device.

The Telecel Wifi service was previously launched for a smaller group during the first quarter of 2017.

Telecel Zimbabwe communication and branding director, Obert Mandimika, said The mobile operator was satisfied with the performance and uptake of Telecel Wifi zones from the soft-launch period.

In terms of affordability, the new packages sees the country’s third largest operator offering 1GB for $1, 250MB ($2), 700MB ($5), 1,5GB ($10), 4,5GB ($25), and 10,24GB ($50).

For the $1 package that is for a one day period, $2 package (7 days), $5 package (15 days), while the $10 and $25 packages are for 30 days.

Econet’s public Wifi zone data bundles cost 50 cents for 150 megabytes (MB), $1 for 500MB, $2 for 1,2 gigabytes (GB) and $5 for 3,5 GB over a seven day period.

However, the company’s private monthly wifi data bundles costs $50 for 25GB, $75 (50GB) and $100 (75GB) according to one customer service agent.

NetOne’s One-Fi allows home users or small offices to purchase a Wifi router with a sim card to activate to the internet. It connects up to 32 people.

The packages comes as a combined data and voice bundle that offers between six and 107GB costing from $9 to $99 respectively.

Zimbabwe Information and Communication Technologies chairperson, Jacob Mutisi said there was need for Wifi expansion.

“I would like to advise mobile operators to engage the local authorities so that council institutions like hospitals, clinics, libraries et cetera that are under their control so that they can also have Wifi,” he said.

ICT, Postal and Courier Services minister Supa Mandiwanzira said competition was healthy for businesses and the consumer was the ultimate winner.

“Whoever is offering the best products for the best value wins the day, so if Econet, Telecel and NetOne is launching something that is great. It is giving the consumer great choice and I think the consumer will then choose between prices and take a look at service which is what we want to see in the market,” he said.

“We do not want to see one dominant player. We want to see all players competing fairly and equally.”

In its fourth quarter report, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe said mobile data utilisation increased by 19% to record 2 567,4 terabytes from 2 157,9 (TB) recorded in the previous quarter.

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