A couple of years ago Econet introduced the airtime credit service to their customers and it has been a hit. It is quite simple, when you run out of airtime during a call and cannot buy and top up your account for some reason e.g you are in the middle of nowhere or have no money in your account you can just dial *179#, borrow airtime and you airtime account is instantly topped up. You can then pay back the money by recharging your Econet account. It is simple, effective and popular to the extent that we are constantly pestered by people who want to learn how to do this using their NetOne and Telecel accounts.

The simple sad answer is that you cannot. Yes, you are reading this right. You cannot borrow airtime on both NetOne and Telecel like you do using your Econet Line.

Hello and good day, please note currently we do not have this option, once we do have it we will advise of the same, thank you

What NetOne had to say about the service.

Now that we have established that there is no way to borrow airtime on a NetOne line what about on Telecel? In theory, to borrow airtime on Telecel you could just dial *143# and follow the prompts. In reality, you will not be able to as the service is currently suspended.

Good day. Please note that the service is currently suspended, the code is *143#.

What Telecel had to say about the airtime credit service

Why you cannot borrow airtime on NetOne and Telecel

There are a couple of reasons for this but two stand out. The first reason is that Telecel and NetOne have fewer resources compared to Econet. That means they have less cash to spend on non-core activities such as lending especially given the low-interest rates that customers pay when they borrow airtime. Then is also the risk of default. People are unlikely to default on Econet loans because they mainly use Econet lines for business. The cost of default is higher than for the other networks that tend to act as secondary lines to a lot of people. Telecel is struggling to pay its workers and would not find money to spare on loans. The second reason is tied to the first. The state of the economy in Zimbabwe and the fact that airtime is mainly sold in ZWL means that it is simply not profitable to give customers airtime credit. By the time they pay you back a couple of days later the money they give you is worth much less than the airtime credit you gave them.

Just to rehash you cannot borrow airtime on NetOne and Telecel and on Econet you can borrow either using *179# or the Yomix app.