You need internet to get Powertel internet

Victor Mukandatsama Avatar

In my last article when I covered the finer details that service providers do not tell you, I came under the barrage of criticism from users who had better experiences with the service. Feeling like the one unlucky kid in the entire schoolyard, I decided to give it another shot. I ended up discovering more deficiencies than I had initially observed.

There are several ways to top up your account; that is OK, Bon Mache, vendors and selected outlets for the physical vouchers. You can also top up via EcoCash, Paynow and via the online client portal. It’s all good until you delve into the details.

Say, for example, that I’m a broadband user who needs to urgently work on something for my boss before 8 o’clock tomorrow morning but I have run out of airtime at 11 pm. Or I am a customer who just needs to purchase their unlimited bundles after working hours. That means that I can’t begin to talk about OK, Bon Marche, ZESA and so forth as they are closed.

So the next option obviously is EcoCash. So I am now thinking, “What’s the biller code and how do I find it if I don’t have it?” Aaarrgh. I don’t have it and EcoCash doesn’t have a menu through which I can search and find it.

So what’s the next option? Oh, yeah, Paynow. Wait, I can’t get on Paynow because I don’t have internet connectivity. Neither can I access the Powertel portal to top up my account. You see the irony? You need to get onto the internet in order to buy internet access. Which is my point exactly, that some of these products are not well thought through.

There is no point in talking about numerous delivery channels that are not useful in a real situation. Please don’t tell me I need to be organised and buy my data way before because even in the most organised households, you can still realise there is no toilet paper when you have already finished doing your business. In any case, as a customer I have as much a right to be as disorganised as I want as long as I have genuine demands that I am willing to pay my bond coins for.

ISPs need to put themselves in the users’ shoes and test numerous scenarios that profit their business and satisfy their customer. It won’t be useful for me how much they will smile in the morning because my boss has already told me exactly what he thinks about me and my competence.

How about zero rating both Paynow and Powertel portals so that at least you have eliminated one side of the equation? How about voice vending using the answering machine? If DStv can do it why can’t Powertel do it?

That’s not all. I got onto the customer web portal login page some other day, but I needed the SIM number which I have never needed to know since I don’t use the Powertel line for calls. I also needed a password, to login. I had to call customer care and give them the ESN number after which they gave me my mobile number and password.

You would wish some of these details were at least handed to you on a small starter pack or flier or SMS welcome how-to.


  1. Anonymous

    Bon Marché not Borne Marche

  2. Raymond Swart

    I feel your pain Victor, I had a similar issue with trying to Top Up my ZOL account. The page works for Ecocash payments but if you want to use Paynow it bombs out at the last step when it takes you to Paynow to make the payment. Made the suggestion to Zol Support at 9pm at night which was when I needed to topup. Not sure if they have made available when you’re out of data yet?

    Let’s “hope” so…

  3. Mike

    Happened when I had bought my Africom ($5) and wanted to buy the weekly package. Their self-help portal is zero rated in the loose sense. So after I had recharged all five dollars and tried pucharsing my bundle I couldn’t because of an insufficient balance. Turns out their website loads resources from other websites (e.g their live chat) so that had gobbled enough data for my balance to keep showing at $5 but being less than that in practice (facepalm)

  4. Someone

    Next time you can get all the EcoCash biller codes for free by dialing *150#

  5. mwanamwana

    try they seem to have something good going there, or have you not heard of it yet?

  6. Terry

    Dude, I use Powertel myself. I ran out of data while skyping at around 11pm. They told me the only option i had was Ecocash but that it would take 24 to 48 hrs to process the payment.

    Can i be blamed for switching internet provider?? These guys simply arent serious.

  7. kodimo

    they arr lacking fo sure