Despite what Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube will tell you,de-dollarisation is almost certainly going according to plan. The latest evidence comes from TelOne who, starting today will be selling exclusive USD bundles which predictably will be cheaper than the current hybrid (USD-ZWL) bundles they currently sell at the moment as these have to be converted from ZWL prices to USD prices using the official rate which is always behind. The new bundles will be as follows:

  • US10 – 40GB and 20GB off peak
  • US25 – 70GB and 35GB off peak
  • US40 – 180GB and 90GB off peak
  • US60 for Unlimited up to 1TB

So how do these USD only packages fare against the old packages?

  • The 30GB package with 30GB of night data was going for US$16 which results in 6 dollar savings and 10GB more anytime data if you opt for the USD bundle. So the new USD bundle is cheaper
  • You were being asked to pay US$45 for only 60GB of peak and nighttime data (120GB) compared to the US$25 for 115GB so the USD package makes sense as you will be paying less per GB.
  • 100GB without night data was US$37 compared to US$40 for 270GB. I would opt for the US$3 more here.
  • The 500GB package was going for US$79 a whole US$79 more than the 1TB package

So yes these packages make sense in USD terms compared to the old packages which are going nowhere soon. You can still opt-in for the old packages if you really want them. One thing to note though is that not many people were paying in USD, to begin with anyway. We have explained why countless times but here is the explanation. When businesses that operate locally are forced to use the official rate which is lower than the black market rate to do conversions between USD and ZWL they tend to use the ZWL as their base operating currency. This results in steep USD prices. It, therefore, makes sense for customers to simply go to the black market, sell their USD and get a higher rate and then pay using ZWL rather than pay TelOne in USD directly.

So given today’s current black market rates do these bundles make sense? Unfortunately, as you probably saw above, there are no comparable packages from the old offerings. That has to be deliberate. Anyway, let us give it our best shot and see if we can do a comparison.

  • The Home Plus Night package would cost you US$13 and which is US$3 more than the equivalent US$10 USD bundle.
  • The Home Premier Night package would cost you about US$22 which makes it cheaper compared to the equivalent USD bundle which is going for US$25. That’s an exception and might change when TelOne inevitably hikes its prices in line with spiralling inflation.
  • There is no direct comparison for the US$40 bundle but given what we have already said above the comparable bundle is way more expensive anyway so it makes sense for you to opt for the USD bundle.
  • In ZWL terms the only bundle that doesn’t make sense at the moment is the 1TB bundle. You are better off with the Intense package which is going for around US$62 at current rates.

NB, We used the prevailing rate of US1 per $320 ZWL to do our computations.

Verdict

You are better off paying for the USD bundles which we have shown are cheaper in most cases. In any case, for times when the USD bundle doesn’t make sense, there is always the fact that when the ZWL prices go higher in line with spiralling rates and inflation the USD bundle will start to make more sense.

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