Yesterday morning I woke up to find the latest ZOL invoice in the myZol portal. Like all unlimited Wibroniks customers ZOL wants me to pay $2 070.00 ZWL for the month of May. The thing is given what I have had to endure for the past 5 or so weeks I more likely to get a month of unlimited headaches from them than I am of getting internet.

Those who use ZOL Wibroniks have had a sad and long month during this lockdown. Zimbabwe’s largest ISP has really given them the short end of the stick. To say Wibroniks speeds have been nowhere near the advertised speeds is an understatement-often the Wibroniks LTE connections have been unusable with speeds so low sometimes you couldn’t even load the speed-testing panel.

Besides platitudes offered by their marketing department which continued to advertise the product, ZOL has neither been forthcoming with details on what is going on really nor have they given a timeline as to when the problem will be resolved. In typical marketing nonsense “they are looking into it.”

Rumours of chaos

According to our friends over at Techzim and other people with inside information, the ZOL problems stem from a number of issues:

  • A system changeover/upgrade gone wrong. Rumour has it that when ZOL decided to introduce data rollovers last year their system upgrade/changeover did not go so well
  • The result has been chaos. We know for a fact that some people haven’t bought any data but they can still use their connections. Some have used more than 50GB of data above what they bought and are still not cut off.
  • Hackers are said to have been able to gain access to the billing system and added free accounts.
  • The service has been oversold and base stations are now overwhelmed by demand during the day. The thing is even in the middle of the night you still get connectivity issues these days
  • The oversubscribed part has been made worse by the current lockdown, everyone is at home trying to watch YouTube and Netflix
  • All is made worse by the fact that their system has glitches so some people continue to abuse the system even though they haven’t paid anything.

“ZOL only cares about fibre”

While we cannot verify the hacking claims we can pretty much confirm the other problems and it still remains to be seen how ZOL is going to solve them. However, if their former Wimax service is anything to go by don’t expect a miracle.

This will be your life until ZOL rolls out their slow and pathetic 5G. ZOL only cares about fibre!

One customer’s musings on social media

There seems to be a grain of truth in these claims. Fibroniks customers get better treatment and haven’t been affected by these issues despite little price differences between service costs. In fact, every fibre break is quickly communicated to customers on ZOL’s platforms and repair updates are given. In comparison as far as we know ZOL has not acknowledged Wibroniks issues at all!

Here are better options

If you are a capped ZOL Wibroniks user, you have better options:

  1. Econet Private Wifi bundles
  2. OneFi data bundles by NetOne

The good news is you don’t have to buy a modem to use these. In fact, if you had a MiFi device you bought, you can probably still use this. If you don’t have one you can still use your phone as a hotspot. You also don’t have to buy a new SIM card the one you have works well.

For Econet Dial *143# and select WiFi bundles:

Data (GB)Price (RTGS$)
The available data bundles

These bundles work the same way other mobile data bundles work. However, they can also be used with hotspotting i.e you can use your phone as a MiFi router allowing other devices to connect. NetOne’s OneFi bundles are similarly priced although you can get a discount if you buy them using OneWallet.

Not only are both bundles cheaper than ZOL’s they are much much faster. ZOL sells its 20GB bundle for $470! How much faster are OneFi and Econet bundles you ask? Both have speeds above 40Mbps even in the middle of the day which is over 2 times the advertised (unachievable) Wibroniks speeds.