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Is it just me, or does Telecel’s current pricing make no sense for it’s market position (or customers).

Wake up Telecel, you’re in a bad spot…

If you’ve ever bothered to use or tried out a Telecel line, chances are you came to this conclusion: the service is trippy at best, unusable at worst, but the prices are the cheapest and worth what you get especially on a budget. Except as of late, that definitely hasn’t been the case. Telecel started keeping pace with NetOne and Econet earlier this year as prices and tariffs for data started going up all the time and it seems like while they’ve recently stopped an interesting situation has arisen: Econet essentially has the cheapest bundles whilst NetOne and Telecel are essentially looking pretty expensive right now. And especially for Telecel, that’s not a great place to be in.
Now let’s be clear here, we’re not suddenly saying Econet of all companies has the cheapest bundles ever, in fact anyone who wants to go into their usual Econet (insert category here) “bundles/bouquets are too expensive” rant is probably justified. Except, for the first time in a very long time, it seems Econet has actually kind of listened. In fact, just take a look at the Table for bundles below:
WhatsApp Bundles

Telecel

Econet

NetOne

Daily ZWL $14 – 20MB

Daily ZWL $13 – 20MB

Daily ZWL $16 – 20MB

Daily ZWL $26 – 40MB

Daily ZWL $26 – 40MB

Daily ZWL $30 – 50MB

Weekly ZWL $45 – 70MB

Weekly ZWL $41 – 65MB

Weekly ZWL $50 – 70MB

Weekly ZWL $95 – 155MB

Weekly ZWL $93 – 150MB

Weekly ZWL $100 – 150MB

Monthly ZWL $150 – 260MB

Monthly ZWL $139 – 240MB

Monthly ZWL $150 – 300MB

Monthly ZWL $230 – 500MB

Monthly ZWL $228 – 400MB

Monthly ZWL $350 – 750MB

 

So let’s start with the main reason most people buy bundles of any kind, WhatsApp. The country’s biggest app is the one reason some people still buy any bundles at all , especially with the crazy data prices. And looking at the distribution chart there, you can see that Econet actually has the cheapest entry level bundles ow, with a daily 20MB bundle costing ZWL $13 , compared to $16 for NetOne and $14 for Telecel. It’s a minor dip in price, but considering that Telecel airtime is always more of a hassle to buy anyway, usually using a bank USSD platform vs Ecocash, you’ll find whoever has 2 lines or is even buying airtime for someone else might opt for an Econet option instead. The same goes for weekly and monthly bundles too, with Telecel and NetOne opting for $ 45 and $ 50 for the weekly bundles , while monthly bundles are $ 150 for both. Econet undercuts them by offering weekly bundles for $ 41 and $ 139 instead. Again, not the biggest differences, but swaying customers more in Econet’s favor. And ironically enough, once value champion NetOne is actually the most expensive provider of WhatsApp bundles and when you look below at the Data Bundle Prices, the story isn’t any different.
Data Bundles

Telecel

Econet

NetOne

Daily ZWL $16 – 25MB

Daily ZWL $13 – 20MB

Daily ZWL $25 – 30MB

Daily ZWL $31 – 50MB

Daily ZWL $152 – 250MB

Daily ZWL $110 – 80MB

Weekly ZWL $20 – 30MB

Weekly ZWL $13 – 20MB

Weekly ZWL $25 – 30MB

Weekly ZWL $340 – 750MB

Weekly ZWL $192 – 370MB

Weekly ZWL $240 – 350MB

Monthly ZWL $160 – 220MB

Monthly ZWL $67 – 100MB

Monthly ZWL $150 – 200MB

Monthly ZWL $1750 – 4500MB

Monthly ZWL $800 – 1400MB

Monthly ZWL $2000 – 5000MB

 

But talking about the prices themselves isn’t the main point here. Because that’s still Telecel, and it’s crazy bundle pricing strategies. Again, Telecel had the interesting relationship with customers of mediocre service(which is sometimes good depending on where u live), but the lowest prices nearly all the time. This isn’t just on a hunch either, lower tier providers all around the world do this, just look at how Cell C in South Africa positions itself against Vodacom and MTN. And the plan for these companies isn’t to offer the cheapest services forever, after all you don’t really make any money that way. Instead, you scale up your infrastructure and services, then make them good enough to take on the top competition, and raise your prices to probably match theirs especially since you likely have as many, if not more users than them. It happens all the time. Except in Telecel’s case, they’ve raised prices to match and even surpass competitors while their service is still well……not up to standard to say the least. With Econet throwing out promotions for using it and even NetOne still puching customers to switch to it, Telecel’s price hike just seems to be there with no real incentive to use their services. Even the bonus airtime they used to give you is now a fraction of what it used to be, before, you could buy airtime and get around half as much in bonus airtime, which could even be used for data. I know because I could buy a monthly WhatsApp bundle and have at least around a day’s worth of data for basic emails and reading articles. Now that amount seems to have a cap at around $10 worth of voice airtime, and with the increased tariffs you’ll be lucky if that even gets you all of your recent notifications. Add in the fact that Telecel’s Home Wi-Fi approach requires you buy a modem, their data bundles are usually not as fast and they don’t have any special promotions on, and you realise just how many incentives there are to stop using Telecel instead. The only maybe good thing they have is night bundles, and even those are an acquired taste for certain people.
And in case any of you are wondering why I’m putting so much effort into this, well that reason is simple: I don’t want Telecel to lose. I don’t. I’m the guy who’s always trying to promote competition, because it’s always better for the customer. And if you’re an Econet customer, that statement has reigned true, the company’s actually come up with some better pricing strategies for their customers amidst the constant undercutting from NetOne and Telecel. Somehow however, both NetOne and Telecel did’nt get the memo on decreasing their prices too. And while NetOne can likely just maintain those prices due to a bit of favor from the general public. Telecel however, seems to be teetering on a reputation impact that could go from bad to worse, and considering the company’s state this year, that’s not a good place to be in.
The one condition that might make me tolerate it’s pricing.
Howvere there is one caveat that might make me be a little more lenient towards Telecel’s pricing, and that’s it’s employees. If you listen to the corporate rumor mill, you’ll know Telecel emplyees allegedly have absolutely terrible pay. After all this is the same company that in May of this year, paid their emplyees ZWL $600 on Telecash, when even buying their $70 US equaivalent dongle cost $100 more than that. Simply put, Telecel employees deserve much better pay, and if this price hike is any indicator of a pay bump for them , then I can begrudgingly accept it. Though if history is to be repeated, that’s likely not the case, and chances are Telecel employees aren’t getting a better deal than it’s consumers are.
Regardless we’ll have to see what outcome results from this whole situation, as maybe there aren’t even enough Telecel customers to make a viable complaint about this. We hope that’s not the case though, as no one here wants to see the company fail even more. Only Telecel themselves can fix this however, and here’s to hoping they do.

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