Telecel offers 35 mins (on net) for $1

William Chui Avatar

Disclosure: The writer consults for Telecel Zimbabwe and the views expressed here are solely his and not of any company or of TechZim’s.

Telecel Go: Telecel's prepaid service brand
Telecel Go: Telecel’s prepaid service brand

In a bulk SMS sent out to its subscribers this evening, Telecel has brought back the on-net packages, that they took away when they launched their Telecel Go package in April this year.

For just $1 you can enjoy 35 mins (yes I know that they started at 200 mins last year, then dropped to 90 mins) for Telecel to Telecel calls, but hey, this is undoubtedly the best (well, if you don’t use NetOne and are enjoying their $1 a day promo or Africom and their unlimited deal for just $10 per month).

How to get Telecel On-net Voice Bundles (35 mins for $1)

  1. Simply dial *156# when you have recharged your account with $1.
  2. Select 1. 35 mins Telecel to Telecel (Bundles are valid for 24 hours on a “use it or lose it” basis)
  3. Call any Telecel number with your 35 mins.
  4. Have $1 in your account 24 hours later, so as to renew the bundle.
  5. There is NO SMS method to subscribe to this promotion at the moment.

The order of usage when calling Telecel numbers will be first your on-net bundle that you’d have bought through *156#. Once that is finished you will then be billed from any Voice Bundles that you’d have bought through their *146# Voice Bundle packages. Then after that you will be billed from your main airtime.

Cheat Trick

If you have exhausted your 35 mins calling other Telecel subscribers and your 24 hours are not yet up, there is no need to wait until the daily anniversary of the bundle, but you can simply “Opt Out” the service and “Opt in” again. Done, you have another 35 mins to enjoy for another day, albeit you’ll have to pay another $1, but this saves you from waiting the full 24 hours.


Do not opt in to the service and then opt out straight away, because you will not be refunded your $1. That you failed to use those 35 mins that you bought (albeit after 1 minute) you lose out. So be sure to tread cautiously when you hit that opt out button.


This promotion is targeted at their Telecel Go prepaid subscribers and leaves their Telecel Red users in the dark. Raw deal for Telecel Red, you decide?

So, the mobile wars are back (as if they went away). It’s more than just using another network’s tag line; it’s getting real. I’m not sure what this will do for their subscriber numbers that took a dip in first quarter 2014, but according to their bulk SMS this promo runs until 3 August 2014. I know, 6 days.

Will you subscribe to this service? What does it mean for mobile wars? Is this a big deal for you? What will sweeten it?



  1. ethicaljournalism

    is this marketing on behalf of telecel , can we have some disclosures here on conflict of interest e.t.c

    1. William Chui

      Thank you for reading “ethicaljournalism”. I have made the necessary adjustments to the article to reflect my affiliation.

      On a whole, what do you make of the promotion?

  2. fourwallsinaroom

    Lately I find myself caught in a catch 22 when it comes to the issue of minutes and until Samsung, ZTE, Huawei or HTC come up with a tri sim phone with even just dual stand by, Telecel is losing my money on a regular basis.
    Net*One is $20 a month and I am calling my other Net*One people and failing to exhaust the said minutes! Only so much you can talk about. Econet, well there is Ecocash and due to the lack of number portability and adequate coverage both Econet and I know I will never ever ditch that number! Then comes Telecel, not using them, Telecash not really doing anything for me besides the early excitement with the debit card, but not enough people sending money via Telecash for me to warrant it. The Red package with unlimited calls to one number might be the answer here but at $30 I think not.
    Now come to this promotion – lets face it, this is a raw deal but econet is worse! it just so happens that I need that number for work and leisure!
    My feelings are based on the following
    1. A base station costs €100.000 to build.
    2. Said base station requires fuel, security, power, rentals for metro links to core network etc to run. lets call this figure $22 000 ($500 for the security, $1320 for 1000l of diesel for the generator, $15000 for the electrical interfaces / IP and the balance for rentals core network etc!)

    Once telecel is done building the base station, that CAPEX is done, taxed and depreciation kicks in to their benefit. The OPEX is an ongoing cost which is more or less static for that base station.
    If one person calls per month on said base station it still costs a minimum of $20k to use it. Why because the security, generator, rentals are not just on going when you are calling! it happens when you are not calling too!
    So Telecel should say well do we make a $1 extra or make nothing at all. For on net calls where telecel owns microwave equipment, is busy building a metro fibre network for the base stations and barely saturates E1/STM/IP links for voice they can easily do better. The question is do they want to.?

    This is the theory IMO with buddie Zone, make money from the base station that is under utilized by attracting customers to use it during off peak. I can do 40-50minutes on buddie zone. Net*One (Once again in IMO) has decided well we could never saturate our network, so let people call on net for free if they pay a dollar. Two things happen with net one. Eventually you have to run out of things to talk about and well its just not possible for more than x people to be calling simultaneously such that it would saturate their network.

    Take a page from ZOL – unlimited internet (they will never saturate the multiple STM’s running IP Transit into Zim) Liquid – Same story. However EWZ on LTE will not do that, not yet because there are still a few pennies under the rug to be swept up before such a bold move is made.

    At any rate $1 for 35minutes? I am with Net*One for that, Telecel needs to do something BOLD for me to start telling people this is my primary number as opposed to the number that stays in my wallet and comes out for that odd telecash transaction confirmation once or twice a month.

    1. Anonymous

      lool $100,000 for a base station? ehy use diesel as back up power loool not a very mature market is it solar is not the answer either lool these operators are not silly jus milking the market an blatenly greedy!!

  3. raymond

    I have noticed techzim is becoming more and more of a telecel mouth piece. you are losing your professionalism guys.

    1. Mb

      @raymond i feel techzim is a very impartial platform and always gives both sides of the coin if Econet or Netone haven’t been launching any new services at the rate Telecel has can you blame techzim for reporting the news as is