WhatsApp calling has become increasingly popular in Zimbabwe as a seemingly cost-effective alternative to traditional voice calls. But is WhatsApp calling cheaper than making a traditional call? How does it compare when you buy a voice bundle instead of calling using airtime? What if we make it more interesting and throw Yomix into that ring too? As you have guessed from the headline and the nature of the questions we just asked we are going to limit ourselves to Econet for this inquiry. The actual cost of these WhatsApp calls may surprise many users. Let’s break down the real expenses of WhatsApp calling on Econet’s network in Zimbabwe.

Data Usage for WhatsApp Calls

Our research indicates that WhatsApp audio calls use approximately 0.20 MB of data per minute, while video calls consume around 10 MB per minute. It’s important to note that these figures can vary significantly depending on factors such as network conditions, call quality, and device settings.

Econet Data Bundle Costs

Looking at Econet’s current data bundle offerings, we can calculate the cost of WhatsApp calls:

  • Daily Data Bundle 250MB (USD 1.50)
    • Audio calls: About 1250 minutes (20.8 hours)
    • Video calls: About 25 minutes
  • Weekly Data Bundle 400MB (USD 2.00)
    • Audio calls: About 2000 minutes (33.3 hours)
    • Video calls: About 40 minutes
  • Monthly Data Bundle 5.12GB (USD 9.00)
    • Audio calls: About 25,600 minutes (426.7 hours)
    • Video calls: About 512 minutes (8.5 hours)

It is important to note that normal WhatsApp bundles don’t allow you to receive or make calls. You can only send text and media. You need a General data bundle that is not tied to a specific service. Here’s a table comparing various Econet bundles and their estimated costs for WhatsApp audio and video calls:

Econet BundleData AllocationEstimated Audio Call (Minutes)Total Video Call (Minutes)Cost Per Minute Video Call (USD)Cost Per Minute Audio Call (USD)
Daily Data Bundle 250MB250 MB1,250250.06000.0012
Daily Data 650mb + Daily 4 mins650 MB3,250650.04620.0009
Daily Data Bundle 550MB550 MB2,750550.05450.0011
Weekly Data Bundle 400MB400 MB2,000400.05000.0010
Weekly Data Bundle 500MB500 MB2,500500.06000.0012
Weekly data 1GB weekly voice 8 mins1 GB5,0001000.04000.0008
Weekly Data Bundle 1.02GB1.02 GB5,1001020.03920.0008
Monthly Data Bundle 5.12GB5.12 GB25,6005120.01760.0004
Monthly Data Bundle 14.34GB14.34 GB71,7001,4340.01390.0003
Monthly Data Bundle 20.48GB20.48 GB102,4002,0480.01290.0003
Monthly Data Bundle 30.72GB30.72 GB153,6003,0720.01240.0002

Notes:

  1. Estimated Audio Call minutes are calculated based on 0.20 MB per minute.
  2. Total Video Call minutes are calculated based on 10 MB per minute.
  3. Cost Per Minute is calculated by dividing the bundle cost by the number of estimated minutes.
  4. Some bundles with voice minutes included (like “Daily Data 650mb + Daily 4 mins”) have been treated as data-only for simplicity in this comparison.
  5. The table includes a selection of bundles from the image, focusing on daily, weekly, and monthly options with varying data allocations.

The table above provides a clear comparison of the different Econet bundles and their relative costs for WhatsApp audio and video calling. It illustrates how larger data bundles generally offer more cost-effective rates for both audio and video calls.

Cost Comparison with Traditional Calls

Econet’s standard voice call rate is $0.0566 per minute when using airtime. For bundle calls, the “Bundle of Joy” option offers 20 on-net minutes for $0.20, equivalent to $0.01 per minute.

WhatsApp Audio Call Costs:

  • Using the Daily 250MB bundle: Approximately $0.0012 per minute
  • Using the Monthly 5.12GB bundle: Approximately $0.00035 per minute

WhatsApp calls are much cheaper

WhatsApp audio calls are significantly cheaper than traditional voice calls, costing 3 to 10 times less depending on the data bundle used. However, WhatsApp video calls can be more expensive than standard voice calls, especially when using smaller data bundles. It’s worth noting that while WhatsApp calls can offer substantial savings, they rely on a stable internet connection and may suffer from quality issues in areas with poor network coverage.

Conclusion

WhatsApp calling, particularly audio calls, can indeed be a cost-effective option if you are using Econet. However, video calls may not always seem to be a bit pricey than your traditional audio calls. Econet never introduced video calls so there is no benchmark to user. You should consider your specific usage patterns, network conditions, and available data bundles to determine the most economical communication method for their needs. Remember, actual costs may vary based on individual circumstances and network performance. It’s always wise to monitor your data usage and choose the most appropriate bundle for your communication habits.