Yesterday our colleagues at Techzim broke the news on how a vindictive suspected Econet employee was blocking the lines (SIM) cards of those who wanted to out them for selling e-Learning bundles on the black market. The suspected Econet employee was also able to block the Ecocash pins of those who would be whistle blowers.

Bundles are stupid period!

We have always been of the opinion that those who provide internet access should be neutral. They should only ever be allowed to sell pure data bundles instead of adding bundles that allow subscribers to access specific services such as WhatsApp or Facebook.

Allowing companies such as Econet to do the later, violates the net neutrality principle. In the end these companies are not just innocent utility providers, they also get to be the kingmakers choosing who wins and who looses. For example Econet has a habit of zero-rating their services such as Ownai which is unfair on the competition.

All they need to do is sell data be it capped or unimited at affordable rates instead of picking winners and losers.

Here is what Econet and others need to do

The current model for selling elearning bundles is stupid to be honest. Everytime when a student exhausts their bundle they have to wait for others to exhaust their bundles too. The teacher then collects the names and numbers of all students and then sends them to Econet, Telecel or NetOne together with the money from the students. The accounts of the students are then topped up.

There are so many issues with this system. Not least of which are the onerous steps involved. There is also a dumb assumption that you all use data in the same way and you top up as a group. What if you are doing 10 subjects and someone is doing only 5? What if you use YouTube for research while your colleagues prefer Wikipedia?

There are so many black market opportunities too. It could be the teacher or whoever is receiving your topup requests. They can just tack more new numbers as they process each batch. Plus imagine the man hours being wasted by those employed at Econet! The whole days spend topping up numbers like seriously?

There is a better way. Just create a eLearning bundle option that allows proven students to use the USSD menu to topup their accounts. For students to be able to buy the bundle they have to be registered once with Econet or whoever the mobile provider is.

Then all they need to do after is to up on their own without having to go through the ridiculous process of going with the herd to top up. The staff at Econet have to vet the student once. The registration can expire maybe after a year and students have to re-register as long as they are students.

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