No love lost between POTRAZ & Econet as MNO suspends its 7X promotion & bonus data offer, blames regulator

Nigel Gambanga Avatar
Econet promotions

Over the past few days local mobile network operator, Econet Wireless went to a lot of effort to notify subscribers that it would be discontinuing its promotions due to the fact that they hadn’t been approved by the regulator, POTRAZ, to go beyond the 31st of July 2016.

Though the announcement wasn’t clear on which promotions would be suspended, additional information from Econet (and a look at the USSD menu) pointed to the 7X Promotion as well as the double data offer.

More than just an announcement

There shouldn’t be much to all of this, really. Econet is supposed to be just another licensed mobile network operator sticking to the rules and offering a service only for as long as it’s allowed to. However, this is more than just an announcement.

For years, Econet’s relationship with POTRAZ has been turbulent, marred by a number of incidents that include restrictions placed on the operator for attempting to impede competition through unfair promotions, to legal action such as the $132 million lawsuit that Econet filed against the operator at the beginning of 2016.

An extensively communicated announcement on the termination of a promotion (this is usually done through posts on social media) with fingers pointed at the regulator looks a lot like Econet’s latest shot at vilifying POTRAZ. It’s as if Econet is saying,

We really wanted to give all those freebies but the regulator won’t let us.

It’s Econet’s cheeky way of letting subscribers know that when it comes to delivering a better deal, there’s always going to be some red tape and subscribers should know who to blame.At the same time, it’s not just about shining some light on who’s good and who’s bad in this picture.

The wording of the announcement has likely been based on Econet’s considerable investment in the 7X Promotion and the Econet WiFi service through a massive product awareness campaign  supported by extensive media coverage and national outreach exercises.

A failure to recoup the investment made on the promotion because of regulatory restrictions could have been enough to make such an announcement.

Subscribers are the biggest losers

When all has been said and done, though, the biggest losers are the subscribers who are disadvantaged by any sort of bad blood between an active service provider and the regulator.

In the absence of a more lenient pricing regime on telecoms services (especially broadband – POTRAZ and all the operators are guilty parties in all of this) any sort of promotion that offers bonuses and benefits to subscribers should be green lit.

When it’s suspended or terminated the loss isn’t just felt by the operator, but by the ordinary person.


  1. Marcus

    I am now getting concerned by this hocus pocus these guys are playing. Lets look at it this way, after Econet tried to defend itself on the network sharing deal, and Mr. Supa Mandiwanzira saying all those things to Econet.

    I guese it is now a fact to say, government is now on a drive to pull all the proud peacock feathers that Econet had grown.

    I was just glad to see that whatsapp bundles still exists. Phew was a bit worried about that.

    And also we have lost the kwese bundles.

  2. Matigari

    After Econet ran their statement about Potraz actions, on social media, we asked them which promotion was affected – they have no answers. They just said wait for clarification – which means they rushed to the press to cry wolf when they don’t even know which promotion was affected.

    If you know the history of Econet and Potraz, you will know that anaMboweni used to run Potraz. The regulator literally bent over backwards for Econet. This supposed no-love-lost is a recent affair. Econet used to have its way around Potraz during Sibanda and Marisa era

  3. Bornwell

    I missed econet’s statemtn & after i failed to get my usual bonus this afternoon, i was so concerned….It was at the same time that I came across the tweet chat below which answered my worry. Sad dvpnt hey, i hope potraz restores such promotions hey……
    Simon Tshuma ‏@simon_tshuma 2h2 hours ago

    @econet_support , which promotions are no longer available??
    0 retweets 0 likes

    Econet Customer Care

    Hey @simon_tshuma, we no longer have the 7X promo, SmS and Win, Data double up, International voice bundle and Wi-Fi – in Kombi. ^FPM.

  4. Takanaka

    It seems it is only the Econet promotions which get bashed by Government. It is now evident government is there to seek the destruction of Econet and the prominence of the Telecel-Telone-NetOne-Africom axia.

    Surely government cannot be a player and referee at the same time.

    Worse still the Government telecom companies are incurring losses and the taxpayer is called upon to assume the debts of NetOne and TelOne. The companies are fraught with corruption. The private and public media has said so. Yet a full government is bent upon frustrating a player proving himself in Africa and beyond. Yet we mourn why Dangote is not investing in Zimbabwe

  5. TDhl

    But the X7 bonus was not fair, I was pegged @$2.75 a punishment of being a consistent user, monthly target was set @$50. which I only achieved once at the bonus thereof expired less than 30hrs of getting them

    1. Mwendamberi

      Look, that promo was not meant for those who don’t use their mobiles. I used to get the bonus almost everyday. It is neither here or there in terms of target as well as expiry period. Bottom line you had to phone and not just be given a bonus for holding an Econet line.

  6. Mwendamberi

    Let them run their promos, its a private company. They can offer what they want.

  7. Mwendamberi

    Econet can charge whatever they want on their platform, if you dont like it; change and go to NotOne or telecel or just use your landline. Period. Potraz should keep their dirty hands off Econet. How can you be a regulator and competition at the same time. Never heard of that in the real world.

  8. Mwendamberi

    Let MNOs do what they want with their platforms. Especially Econet Wireless Zimbabwe.