The Zimbabwean Perspective

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Telecel still has 1GB night bundles for $2.50! And we’re just as skeptical about them as you are.

Too good to be true…..?

Telecel has not been having a good new year so far. Just three weeks ago workers filed a letter to the Minister of ICT requesting for government assistance as the company is literally on it’s last leg, with 65% of coverage being down, subscriber numbers having fallen from 2.2 million to just 800000 and revenue having fallen from ZW $90 million to a mere ZW$ 7 million instead. As such, our last leg assessment might even be an understatement of the company’s current situation, as even their usual strategy pf simply being cheaper than Econet and NetOne hasn’t helped them much especially as their services become borderline unusable especially when there is no electricity. Which is why we were as skeptical as we were thrilled when we noticed that the company’s night bundles are still going FOR ZW $2.5 and ZW $4 for one night and two nights respectively, which is not at all proportional to the average Telecel data prices which start at $2  for  15mb on a daily bundle, let alone Econent and NetOne’s prices which still make our eyes water. So we decided we’d test just how viable Telecel’s night bundles are, and whether or not they are either some scam to trap consumers, or even an enjoyable loophole from a company that’s probably in some amount of disarray.
So are these bundles a bargain? Well, like we’ve mentioned before with Telecel, it depends. We tested the bundles over four nights in Malbereign and Kuwadzana. Not the best spread of areas we know but due to the active hours of the bundles it was obviously harder to test them in a lager range of areas. However we did notice that this was essentially a case of Areas where Telecel has more reliable coverage versus those where it doesn’t. So in Malbereign, the bundles worked pretty well. After all in the end it’s simply Telecel data and their data speeds at work here. If you know what to expect, you’ll likely be just fine. It’s not as fast as Econet (and arguably NetOne as well) but it get’s the job done. Whether said job be some usual article browsing , YouTube streaming or even the occasional moderate download of a 200MB file. Simply put if you’re not a speed junkie who’s been spoilt by their work Wi-fi, chance are you’ll appreciate this, especially on a 4g capable device, which can tether a PC reliably too (just make sure you set the connection to being a metered or capped network on your laptop otherwise a software update will guzzle the bundles in minutes). However this is if you’re in an area where Telecel coverage is reliable, and unfortunately, that’s not the case for many high density surburbs. Using this same package in Kuwadzana was, troublesome to say the least. On some nights the speed and reliability were the same as they were in Malbereign, while on others the line was borderline unusable, only loading mobile websites on specialized browsers like UC Mini and Opera Mini that are made for terrible network conditions. It would make using the line and bundles here a chance experiment, where if the network seems reliable you buy a bundle, if it’s not you essentially give up on whatever you planned to use the bundle for that night. And that of course destroys the appeal somewhat on what should be Telecel’s saving grace right now. The usual tale of low prices to draw customers in, but unreliable or terrible services that make them leave in an instant which has been haunting Telecel for a while now. And it’s a shame to see this same tale be demonstrated here, as with the internet becoming more unattainable by many users every day, the last thing anyone in Zim needs is the only services available being borderline unusable as well. These are problems with Telecel themselves as a company of course and whether they will be solved soon is a question every Telecel subscriber should ask themselves.
An image of unreliable services has been hounding the company as of late. Hopefully this changes soon.
And perhaps that creates the needed verdict for these bundles. If your area has great or at least good Telecel coverage, then jump in on these bundles, especially since they save everyone a lot of money. But if the Telecel reception in your area is nothing to sing about, then you may want to steer clear of wanting to buy the bundles, though of course you could test them out for yourself and check to see if they work for you and are what you need.

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