In Zambia, the majority of mobile subscribers are on Pay As You Go (PAYG) plans. Mobile data subscriptions are a different story, however. And this is how you can distinguish the difference between a plan and PAYG. PAYG is where you keep buying airtime credit to serve your needs as they come while a monthly plan is a “one time” subscription predicting your monthly usage. With the recent implementation of the national SIM card registration exercise, everybody is required to provide their identification documents before acquiring an operation SIM.
It’s a different story in Dubai, however. Here you can get a PAYG SIM card without having to go through the tedious task of finding a telecom agent to capture your personal details. Reason being that, you’re only responsible for the amount of airtime you require or data you use. Therefore, it is pointless to register you if you are only in the country for a few days and possibly may not be returning.
For instance, the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company popularly known as du since rebranding, automatically activates your SIM card within 24 hours of inserting it into your phone without even calling them. Etisalat on the other hand is also a different story although it was named the most powerful company in the UAE by Forbes Middle East in 2012. Nonetheless, the focus of this article is to discuss the ease of acquiring mobile phone service while traveling and comparing it to the situation in Zambia.
Alternatively, Zambia requires you to register your SIM card whether you are in the country for a day or forever. It seems problematic to keep track of all the mobile subscribers if everybody was registering their SIMs. The likelihood of them deactivating the cards before leaving the country is unlikely. Therefore, it can be predicted that the number of mobile subscribers for each telecoms company, that is Airtel Zambia, MTN Zambia and Zamtel, could be highly inflated or exaggerated over a certain period of time. The accuracy could thus be very questionable.
On the brighter side of things let’s look at the great deals being offered by du on the PAYG plans.