When we attended the Liquid Telecom the MD of the fibre operator, Wellington Makamure said that while Zimbabwe’s telecoms industry is lucrative, its one of the most competitive. Nothing speaks more about that heat of competition than a new price cut by ZOL just weeks after the operator announced unlimited internet on all its packages. The price cuts come with new packages for home and business users starting at $59 (well, 60) for unlimited broadband at speeds of up to 1 mbps all the way up to $695 for data heavy enterprise customers.
The announcement was made this morning via an email to ZOL subscribers. The new packages and prices have been posted on the company’s website here (home) and here (business). You will notice from the price tables that it’s a total of 13 different packages, which is a lot and can be confusing in terms of difference in the effective broadband you get. The packages fall into two categories; a home category with 9 packages, 3 of which are fibre with speeds of up 20Mbps and the other 3 we’re guessing WiMax with speeds of up to 3 Mbps.
Here’s a table of the home broadband packages:
|Plus||Up to 1Mbps||$59|
|Enhanced||Up to 2Mbps||$99|
|Ultra||Up to 3Mbps||$129|
|Fibre Fast||Up to 10Mbps||$149|
|Fibre Faster||Up to 15Mbps||$199|
|Fibre Fastest||Up to 20Mbps||$259|
Of course, as with all things ISPs that “Up to” phrase in the speed is something only the users of the service can say how low speed gets and for how long. As for setup costs, the ZOL website says all packages come with free* equipment. Yes a “free” with a T&Cs apply little asterisk, so be sure to call ZOL and ask what that means before ditching your current ISP.
Still on the equipment, the ZOL CEO, David Behr, says in the email that they will now use their own infrastructure, a shift from the renting arrangement they have had in the past with licensed Internet Access Provider, Africom, Telecontract, Aquiva, Aptics and others. As a Liquid subsidiary this was going to happen sooner or later since Liquid is itself a licensed IAP.
When uMax announced the slash of prices to $75 for 20GB data three months ago, we noted that it was a move that would change everything as uMax had become the lowest broadband in the country. The competition has essentially responded and 20GB sold at $75 a month is just not the lowest priced anymore. Unlimited data at $59 is.
The one thing that uMax have on their side is their reputation for solid 1Mbps and customer support. But even that will be hard to sell against ZOL’s unlimited data on fibre coming down at 10Mbps for $149. These are prices that actually make you consider getting fibre at home.