Telecel leads the pack in innovation

By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
Since the dawn of 2013, Telecel the fastest growing mobile network operator in Zimbabwe has shaken the market with top of the notch sizzling promotions attracting due attention.

They have been lots of serious promotions from other players but what makes Telecel`s promos stand out is the way they have dared to cross the line which no other player has bothered, thus taking their promotions beyond their own network borders.

Currently ,TelecelZimbabwe is riding high on their mega bonus promotion, where 100% bonus airtime is awarded on all denominations of airtime bought to call any number even outside their network, I will give much attention to this promo and its technicalities in this insert.

The Telecel reds packages would have come first in my priority list as they come close to most international standards and packages that come exclusive to a network but their price tag automatically identifies them with a various classes of people, applaudably they also come with unlimited voice calls, data and SMS for both inside and outside network calls.

The red packages come in $30, $60 and $150 categories with the latest coming in with unlimited voice access across network plus data and SMS while the $30 package comes with all but limits to only one selected number, an ideal situation for a sole mate.

Amongst their top innovative packages is their irresistible promotion where they are giving a total of $20 welcome to any dormant subscriber for simply reactivating their dusty lines. This is a strategic move as they cast their net beyond keeping the current subscribers while they resurrect their erstwhile customers.

Telecel Chief Commercial Officer, Mr Ashraf Elguindy said “The generous $10 welcome bonus and the additional $10 bonus after recharging and calling to the value of 20 cents is our way of thanking our subscribers for choosing us. Telecel does not take its customers for granted and where possible we will continue to offer as much value as is feasible from a business perspective,”

They have also called on all new customers who join to receive a welcome credit of 50 cents available for on net calls and 200 SMSs available for sending across all networks.

The other life saver promo which no any other player has offered is the emergency credit facility. We all run out of airtime credit at times and all we may need is just a few seconds to send that more important message across but without credit, one is stuck.

By dialing *143# a user is led to a quick menu to get emergency credit worth 50c. This seems to be an offer exclusive to Telecel subscribers on the network for at least 6 months. The emergency credit service allows one to access airtime in advance while you pay back for it the next time you recharge.

So far Its only Telecel whom has spoken on supporting the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) system, in a sign to show they are not afraid of competing, would not want to tie their clients to their mobile numbers, their Marketing Director Mr Octivius Kahiya in this video footage openly declared “We are ready For MNP!”

Of all the reigning promotions, their mega promotion is not only too good to ignore, but I choose to call it real madness, it has surely crossed the line.

This is one move no operator would love to make and it only takes real guts to make such a promotion as the operator is ready to sacrifice losses just to make the subscribers smile- at all costs.
Strategically a promotion stays only healthy as long as it stays within the network and any attempts to externalise traffic is not only a bold move but a sincere sign that we care even at our own costs. The big deal here is “calling across network.”

Technically, when someone makes a call within network, a subscriber is charged 23 cents and the network provider takes home all.
The situation changes when one makes a call from let’s say Telecel to Econet, there are some terminating charges which are currently at 7cents so effectively the terminating operator will pocket a cool 7cents when you call other networks.

For example when I call an Econet number from a Telecel network, I will still be charged 23cents, yet Telecel will remit the 7cents to Econet, and only pockets 16cents (including 15% VAT)

The current terminating charges according to Potraz are 7 cents per minute for a domestic call and 20 cents per minute for an international call.
What makes Telecel Zimbabwe promo really crazy is simply forgoing this concept, they seem unperturbed and are currently heavily promoting the 100% mega promotion.

Effectively it means Telecel is losing 7 cents per every call outside network, out of the same airtime they had initially given out for free at cost as they give back value for money and just to make their subscribers put on that smile.

By the way, this same issue of termination fees is the one which brought up a wrangle between Netone and Econet with a figure of $20 million dollars being contested, the case today as we speak is currently being heard at court level as we await the outcome.

Speaking to the Telecel communications and brand director Mr Obert Mandimika, He said “Telecel Zimbabwe is the mother of creativity, we have always been the first to create value for money for our clients and we are committed to satisfying them, innovation is the bedrock of our success.”
The bonus airtime is still valid for the four days, before it immediately expires of which most active subscribers would have used up by then.

Today if I can buy a $2 worth airtime then automatically I get another $2 worth free, where I can still call any other number across network, then well, for the first time, I’m sure the promos have moved many and finally subscribers have reasons to buy those extra lines.

This kind of promotion will obviously not be taken lightly by other competitors and we expect much more versatile ammunition to be released as the battle for subscribers hits its all-time highest toll.
Unfortunately, the Telecel promotion is valid until the 30th of August this year.
Econet wireless has been driving its buddie Zone which gives you as much as 99% discount calls but still only limited to Econet numbers. The buddie zone has been received quiet well with most people but it’s not guaranteed when you have the discount and how much discount you shall get.

Unfortunately in most cities Harare included, the Buddie zone is gradually evaporating, it now seems to be a service for those who enjoy midnight calls, as it virtually disappears from the daytime scene.

Buddie zones are also not perfectly defined as it is possible to continuously get different percentage discount while you are in the same area, your companion can even access a much higher discount rate even though you are all in the same area.

Netone too has gone a bit amok by giving a full day free call which has attracted many subscribers too. Their promotion on voice has also been impressive with their dollar a day reloaded promo where $1 airtime gives you 1hr more of free unlimited calls and $5 gives you 5hrs talk time free too sadly the promotion is still locked only to Netone network subscriber.

The Telecel mega promotion has gone a bit overboard and has become the pace setter, we watch how the battle for the 13million Zimbabwean subscribers will culminate.

Telecel Zimbabwe, has made itself the fastest growing mobile operator in Zimbabwe with great potential to leave its competitors in the dust as they make innovation their habitual culture.

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