ZOL’s monthly subscription model : Daylight Robbery or Pure Genius?

I fell in love with Fibroniks late last year towards the rainy season. Switching over from Telone ADSL was a practical decision for my security and assurance, as i need to be on the internet consistently. I live in a woodlands area and with the rains, I am regularly left without connectivity as trees are always falling on the telephone lines. Otherwise no pun against Telone ADSL,… for now.

Trouble started when I underbudgeted and opted for a bouquet of data that ultimately failed to last the whole month. Intending to pay for the same package, I immediately sent an equivalent amount via ecocash. After the connection was not restored for a bit, I called their Toll free helpline, at which point I then realized that you could not purchase the same bundle you had in the same month, that I had to resort to stop-gap topups or that i could upgrade and effect a new monthly package instantly. What I didn’t realize, (or what they don’t tell you) is that whatever data quota you are subscribed for is what you get and anything beyond that comes at a premium. Interesting, however,  is that you can still opt for a higher package and activate it immediately.

To illustrate how this works, look at the package like it were a contract line that has a budget of $5 per month at competitive rates. If that $5 finishes, however, you cannot go back and buy another $5 but have to resort to the $1 scratch-cards like everyone else. Economics dictates that the retail price will be more expensive than larger quantum. Even if at the end of the day you spend over $15 collective, way more than the initial package, it will be at higher pricing. Now the irony of it all is that ZOL does not offer these “Topups” as a package on their own in the first place, which in my opinion would have catered for the much-needed numbers. You cannot plug in a ZOL dongle and buy $2 Fibroniks on the go.

The Fibroniks Lite package goes for costs $29 per 25 Gig of data. Fair? If this finishes up the only option available to get the equivalent are the $19- 10 Gig plus $10- 5 Gig packages. At the end of the day for the same $29 you only get 15 Gig instead of the original 25 Gig, or more statistically, your regular subscription gives you 1.16 Gig for a dollar and the topup goes for 1.93 Gig per dollar. 

Genius or straight-up Capitalistic? 

Econet and its subsidiaries have always been accused of exorbitant rates getting into numerous tiffs with the regulating Potraz over their pricing policies. Despite this evil, they have unarguably managed to deploy some of the best services on the market. Whether the earlier can justify the later is open for discussion. From the consumer side, it makes sense to be allowed to restore your monthly package when it runs out as opposed to being pushed into a pricing strata that you cannot afford. Ultimately, since I already have the Telone ADSL Home, I resorted to the $25-30 Gig option. Not as fast, but hey, I can still Night Owl on my ZOL.

Image courtesy of samlevyvillage.com

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