On the 29th of September, ZOL announced the official release of its LTE data line. This means you can now access the ZOL internet using your smartphone. In that same announcement, they also advised people to visit any ZOL shop in order to check if they are compatible. This is definitely going to beef up competition in the mobile data space which currently has NetOne as the most preferable one. Before I go further let me briefly touch on what LTE is all about.

What Is LTE?

LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is a 4G wireless communication standard. LTE is characterised by high speeds and very low latencies irrespective of distance. Despite these great advantages, LTE does come with a downside – it drains battery life. LTE has been found to drain batteries faster and this is even worse when the network signal is weak. So those are some basic characteristics of LTE worth mentioning.

How The LTE Line Is Going To Work

The line is going to work using the ZOL Wibroniks internet package. The line will cost ZWL$10 to buy and will have the already existing Wibroniks packages to choose from. The packages are as follows namely, 2 GB (ZWL$24), 3 GB (ZWL$34), 5 GB (ZWL$52), 15 GB ZWL$106.50, 20 GB (ZWL$191.50), 60 GB (ZWL$272.50), 100 GB (ZWL$402) and uncapped or unlimited (ZWL$626.50). The capped packages are valid for one month which is somehow a good thing.

Some Commentary

In briefly explaining what LTE is, I pointed out how LTE drains the battery big time. This is a characteristic of the LTE’s working DNA and thus can be inconvenient for most people. This is a particular concern for those whose smartphones are not endowed with good batteries. As for the packages, they all wield the great advantage of being valid for a cool 30 days. This is unlike the mobile network operators whose most preferable data packages are valid for only 24 hours. The other downside is that ZOL coverage is not yet available in most parts of the country. For example, I stay in Mashava (it is peri-urban) but ZOL coverage is not available so I cannot enjoy these LTE lines as yet. Thus comparing the ZOL LTE line and other mobile network operators may not be as clear cut. I guess with time we will see how the product fares as we get to hear more comments from its users. Just by looking at the pricing and the validity period, the ZOL LTE line becomes a preferable choice over Econet, NetOne and Telecel.

There is another interesting angle to this whole development i.e. regarding who ZOL belongs to. ZOL is an internet service provider whose parent company is Liquid Telecom Group. In fact, Liquid Telecom acquired ZOL in 2012 and this also led to a partnership with Liquid Telecom’s parent company – Econet Wireless Group. So in essence, ZOL belongs to Econet Wireless Group. This then brings to the fore a question, is the ZOL LTE line meant to compete with Econet or it is just a way of diversifying or widening Econet’s revenue base? Kindly tell us what you think in the comments below.

There is no question about how smart this move to unveil an LTE line is by ZOL. It is a service I would not mind using because of the favourable costs and periods of validity. We just have to give this some time to see how well the product will be embraced on the market. For those in towns, they will immediately have an opportunity to test out this product. Not so for the rural or peri-urban folks who live in places where ZOL is not yet there. Let me just share some encouragement to entrepreneurs out there using this development as an example. The introduction of this ZOL LTE line seems to be borne out of a realization that there is a need in the market. This ought always to be an entrepreneur’s obsession – to have an eye out for challenges requiring solutions. You study the challenges, you get to understand them, brainstorm and come up with a workable solution – a solution that can be monetized. That is the true essence of entrepreneurship.