Is Econet’s SMS Bundle A Viable Alternative To The WhatsApp Bouquet

Farai Mudzingwa Avatar
Picture of a basic cell phone, SMS

Data has gotten pretty expensive or out of the reach of most common folk since all the networks revised their offerings. With this in mind, I couldn’t help but take a look at Econet’s SMS bundles just to get a feel of which option is cheaper if communication is your only goal.

Being an Econet user, I dialled *140# and selected the purchase bundles option. Lo and behold some serious value was being offered through the SMS bundles. For a $1 you get 250 SMSs and then for just $2 you get a whopping 500 SMSs.

Now of course, if WhatsApp is your primary communication tool as it is for many of us you’ll understand that by going to SMSs you’re sacrificing many things. For one group functionality goes out of the window in the world of SMSs. Media functionality is not as robust as it is on WhatsApp. But then these are tough times so austerity measures have to be adopted in order to make ends meet.

Especially now when WhatsApp weekly bundles cost 3 dollars and you’re only getting 140MB. If that data allocation runs out as it might because of statuses and media you’ll probably end up using more than $3 for WhatsApp.

Get some work done

Another case that can be made for SMSs is simply the fact that a hiatus from WhatsApp could help a lot of us become more productive at work. SMSs are pretty boring; The interface is dull and because they are more expensive, back and forth is largely reduced. No need to play cat and mouse with your boss anymore. We’ve all done it before, that trick where you hear someone approaching and hide your phone and tap away at your keyboard as though you were the employee of the month. If you’re using the SMS bundle you don’t have to do any of that pretending to begin with.

Slowing down fake news

The last benefit I can see from going all in on SMS is the fact that falsehoods and misinformation will be slowed down drastically. I know saying “let’s not interact with something at all because there are some negatives” is not the best way of problem-solving but it is one of the many benefits there is to moving to texts over our current favourite messaging application.

Easier said than done

Maybe the one major flaw with the argument for text is that whilst I say all of these things, I haven’t been able to ditch WhatsApp yet. Maybe I’m waiting for some of the people I talk to on these platforms to take this bold leap I am proposing or maybe I know that deep down no matter how expensive this stuff gets I will still buy the bundles and continue playing cat and mouse with my boss… *sigh*

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  1. Guy Goma

    This is you trying to drag us back to the stone age, Hahaha.

    1. Farai Mudzingwa

      Haha let’s go back to the good old days man!


    Eeh ! You have probably alerted someone to work on ensuring that there is a viable tariff for these bundles as well. It probably costs them more to carry this message than the cash they make! 0.04c a message, i real terms a tenth of a US cent roughly right?

  3. wokenman

    There is probably some meeting happening at Econet right now about increasing that price as well after some overzealous employee saw this article and emailed his boss.

  4. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    We must remember that communication is generally a 2-way affair. You may have an SMS bundle, that’s fair and fine, but does the recipient have one. If not, good luck getting a response. I don’t SMS anyone back at all, regardless who you are. Without an SMS bundle, you are actually better of calling to have your conversation, rather than SMSing.

    SMSes fast become costly, especially when people text inefficiently, e.g. “Hi”, , “How are you?”, , “I’d like to find out XYZ”, . Instead of a single “Hi. How are you? I’d like to find out XYZ”, .

    1. Farai Mudzingwa

      Yeah there’s a lot of cons for SMSs but I’m going to experiment with them and see how it goes. People adapt quickly and the hi how are you texts will change to something more meaningful. If it results in having more meaningful conversations and less small talk I see it as a pro.