This Has To Be The Most Stupid Product/Service Ever!! NetOne What Are You Smoking???

Tinashe Nyahasha Avatar
Man expressing surprise

So a lot of times Techzim comes under fire for not being fair or sharing our opinion too much. Irony is that this always comes from all players in the tech space particularly the telcos. Each one accuses us of favouring the others, it always puzzles me how we could possibly favour everyone at the same time.

We talk about tech and business here on Techzim. We not only break the news, review products and services, keep you in the loop and all that but we share our opinion regarding the news and the products and services and sometimes just merely our opinion. That obviously means we occasionally have a different opinion to the guys we report on: that’s OK.

But this time I think even NetOne agree with us

Notone has just rolled out a service to….

Tell you the time! Are you kidding me? It’s a USSD service. Come on guys and gals, who wants to punch in a USSD code just to get the date and time which is already on their home screen? Here’s the message announcing the ‘innovation:’

For your added convenience, NetOne introduces a smart way of checking for the current date and time by simply dialing *120#. NetOne – The World In One

Added Convenience

Hey NetOne, checking my home screen is convenience enough thank you

Smart way

Hey NetOne this is neither smart nor is it a way. No thanks.

Someone introduced tracking a few days ago

Is this in answer to Econet’s launch of a service that allows customers to check and track how their data balance and voice balance and all the rest? Both could be tracking solutions but I sure can track the time just fine. Next we will have someone introducing a USSD to check if I am alive: a smart way to check if you are breathing, dial *000#. Come on!

NetOne used to not allow auto update of date and time

It’s ridiculous that NetOne didn’t allow your mobile phone to automatically update the date and time if you had taken out the battery or something. Every single time you needed to check somewhere for the correct time and then set your mobile phone’s time otherwise it would go to whatever the default time on your device is. Mine is 1 am in 2008 or something.

Checked if this is now working and yes it is now working! Now when you take out your phone battery as long as you had selected the option to allow auto update of date and time NetOne will automatically update the date and time. So why then should one have to punch in a USSD code to get the date and time?

I guess someone complained about the lack of auto update of date and time and some clever person at NetOne said ‘aha, I can give you more than that’ and they came up with a smart way of checking current date and time via USSD. I just can’t stop laughing ever since.

This is what developers call overkill… To be honest this is more than overkill

Believe without seeing is hard

When this first got forwarded to me, I couldn’t believe it. I thought someone was trying to poke fun at NetOne. I had to test it. Here’s the screen recording:

You can’t make this stuff up!



  1. Lol

    Did they launch on 1 April? Might just be an April fool 🙂

  2. Garikai Dzoma

    The second options seems to be about them telling you what your number is. Wow in case you forget. Really useful features.

    1. wokenman

      Actually that IS useful – sometimes if you buy your card direct from NetOne office they don’t give you the envelope package – just the card. So the number isn’t actually printed anywhere – often enough people throw away that envelope anyway – the card “stub” remember only has the PIN and PUK

  3. Flawed

    Ok the time part is not good I but I actually like the mobile number part… Netone is my second line… It’s just another way of finding your number.. Thank

  4. Flawed

    *120*2# and your number comes up… That I can remember

  5. UZ Student

    yaa its stupid but when using kambudzi keAstro Mobile kasinga updater time even on econet its kinda handy

    1. Tinashe Nyahasha

      Really? So it’s not as bad, there is a use case then…

  6. Anonymous

    This is the most ridiculous thing ever. Netone is literally a nonsense brand for launching this silly thing

  7. Rati

    I think this article is overkill. Most basic phones that people use, especially in the rural areas can’t auto-update their time and this feature really comes in handy when no one else is around to give you the correct time if you ever find yourself needing to manually set the time on your phone. Don’t think of it as an innovation – just think of it as a convenience.

    1. Tinashe Nyahasha

      I take your point on not looking at this as an innovation but maybe as a convenience. The Astro mentioned above is actually the first phone I heard that does not automatically update date and time. I don’t know if we can say most basic phones there, I have used and a number of people I know use very basic phones but they have the feature.

      The problem has been with the networks i.e NetOne and Telecel would not make it possible. NetOne is now working though, let me check Telecel…

  8. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    Sometimes you want to know the correct time. The time on my handset my not be precise for various reasons. As well, not all phones keep their time when you remove the battery. I can keep my phone time 10 minutes ahead, and I personally hated the auto-update Econet did because of this. I had to disable the setting and remember to do it everytime I removed the battery. I had a Nokia 5230 back then.

    Even if you ask the people around you, whose time keeping devices have the “correct” time, you will find significant variances. It is a reliable way of getting the correct time, on-demand.

  9. Nice

    I you should change the headline only fair

    1. Tinashe Nyahasha

      Hi Nice
      I still hold the same opinion… It’s a bit too late as well

  10. Lee

    Im not a Netone fan, but I think the feature is not as ridiculous as you say. Innovation is not about difficult things, sometimes its about solving existing problems

    1. Farai Mudzingwa

      Which problem is being solved here?

      1. GB MathComm

        Its a good solution kana une kambudzi phone