ZOL chases after voice revenue with its new 10c/minute VoIP service ZOLphone

Nigel Gambanga Avatar
VoIP services, Liquid telecom, Econet group, ZOL ZImbabwe, ZImbabwean ISPs, ZOL, Liquid Telecom, Voice calling

Local internet service provider and Liquid Telecom subsidiary ZOL has unveiled a new voice calling service.

Called ZOLphone it’s a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) product that works through a mobile app called ZOLphone that’s available for Android users (an iOS version will be available from the 1st of November, 2016)

In addition to the downloaded app, ZOLphone users also need $1 for registration plus a copy of their ID and a signup form.

The service works on any internet connection (you don’t need a ZOL Fibre connection to sample this) and like other well-meaning VoIP services, calling on the same network are free.

As far as tariffs go ZOLphone is charging 10c per minute to all local calls (including landline calls) while there are varying rates depending on international call destinations. The airtime vouchers for the service will be sold in Econet shops as well through online purchases.

This isn’t ZOL’s first foray into VoIP services. Its fibre to the home service ZOL Fibroniks has an accompanying VoIP service which the ISP has been pitching to residential users for a while now and in the past, it’s also pushed a VoIP solution to small businesses.

ZOLphone appears to be ZOL’s attempt to tap into a voice revenue opportunity that exists among users with internet access but are somehow willing to pay 10 cents a minute (locally, at least) to make that voice call.

“Willing” is the operative word there considering how Over the Top services that have come to resemble the internet (WhatsApp, Facebook and everyone else after) are offering voice communication services. Heck, even video has been thrown in now and it looks like it’s going to be a communications staple.

However, it apparently is a wholesome market, considering that ZOL’s only real competitor TelOne also launched its own VoIP service a few days ago.

Unless ZOL’s launch is a knee jerk reaction just to keep up with the Joneses’ the two entities are clearly trying to corner a specific market that still wants to pay to make calls through the internet.


  1. Macd Chip

    This looks to me like a reaction from Zol. Zol is charging 10c where as TelOne is charging 7c. Who have the largest client base is going to be king here!

    Having been using TelOne ADSL for a while now, and its been working, that is not hard for me to choose who to try!

    1. fourwallsinaroom

      First time I have ever been moderated lets see if my post pops up. Macd have you followed the evolution of the Voipware product —> Econet Direct Connect —> Zol Phone?

      Interesting how this has been around for over five years. Anyway I was citing the whole background and providing URL’s to prove the facts on the ground. Now I am in the sandbox awaiting moderation.

      1. fourwallsinaroom

        oh one last link
        didnt herald cover the same story sans the app?

        1. Nigel Gambanga

          That was for the standard VoIP service that they have been pushing under their Fibroniks. The app is supposed to be their “new service” here.

      2. Nigel Gambanga

        Your comment was approved, sorry for that delay

    2. Zibusiso Masuku

      ZOL is still better, for starters, TelOne is cheaper but they have so many charges behind the curtain. There’s a bi-weekly charge for the Call-As-You-Go Plan and and you pay $5 for the monthly plans + recharging.. ZOL has won this. Reactive , yes. But ZOL might have got this one. I am still trying to see why anyone would use this considering there’s Skype, WhatsApp, etc now. NetOne and Econet bundles give slightly similar rates on national calls.

  2. fourwallsinaroom

    This is not new, they even had a soft phone for windows 5 whole years ago!

    The funny thing is they had an android app, pulled it, told users to user zoiper in the interim (two years or so back). Beyond that Zolphone lite is still available for download and has been around for ages. The tarriffs have never changed. Remember this was an econet product called Direct Connect. Back in the day Econet used to give out 07720xxx. ZOL and Liquid then took over the VOIP infrastructure from Econet, the exclusive 07720 numbers vanished, the website was rebranded for the third time. If you check

    and finally the winner

    You will actually see where ZOL/Econet borrowed or “took” the software from etc. etc.

    How much did you get paid for this piece of advertising… wink wink wink.

    1. Nigel Gambanga

      I wasn’t aware of this entire back story from 5 years ago, to be honest. Thank you for pointing it out. The fact that they pulled the Android app initially then brought it back now speaks a lot to the reactionary nature of this. It’s an old service that they are “repositioning”. Lol it wasn’t an advert in any way.

      1. fourwallsinaroom

        The advert part was just some Friday humor. I think what would be interesting is an article on how this whole thing evolved, maybe even find out for us who Voipware are and the relationship to the econet family and all of that.

        Also maybe they need to start looking at cleaning up the web servers. I think its crazy to note that one can actually get a VOIP number via the register page, completely by passing things like having to leave your ID, $1, your kidney etc.

        I am not one to put things out in the open, but it is this very lax behavior at times with service providers that worries me! Thats a story for another day

    2. Macd Chip

      Respect upon you Fourwallsinaroom! You are a real Sorojena on this!

  3. romeo

    when you say 10c for all local calls do you also mean including to mobile networks

    1. mwanamwana

      Yes @Romeo that is correct. Just remember to factor in the data usage before you pick.

  4. KG

    I feel like we are learning NOTHING from the past though. That nuisance $1 (after downloading your silly app and registering and giving my DNA sample and paying for the damn data) reminds me of Africom having a ridiculously low call rate but charging an arm and a leg for (not even up to date) CDMA cellphones.

    Also we’ve seen this idea before (Skype calls anyone?) but besides offering that purchase availability option (buy the way in an already complex arrangement I will buy airtime or pay for connection to make the call then pay for credit to make the call…..) we wonder why voice calls though declining are still popular.

  5. ic0n1c

    Way better than that Talk+ from TelOne… and way smoother.

    1. Telone Vs Zol

      Hahahahahahaha someone really hates Telone. I wonder why? is it becoz of past experiences or what?

  6. fungai

    NEEEEEEW MY FOOT i have had this service since last year

  7. Chenje

    I have downloaded this app. Created an account. And loaded $5 airtime. But I have never able to make a single call. Is there anyone who has managed to make calls using this?

    1. fourwallsinaroom

      Rather use Zoiper – this is the application that I am using with the ZOL line (I use it to receive Zim calls and make calls to Zim when I am abroad and it works well. Also you can track call success rates. Remember there is QoS requirements now if they are below what they promise make a stink.