Author Archives: L.S.M Kabweza

Is Econet bringing the EcoLife model back for the EcoSure service?

March 1st, 2015

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Minus the mercilessly incessant spam SMS that EcoLife became known for, the model of the life assurance product itself was brilliant. Based on a minimum threshold airtime usage of $3 per month, Econet subscribers would qualify for $12,000 life cover. But the service was discontinued, and when its successor, EcoSure, launched 3 months ago, the model had changed – one […]

Sale of Telecel to proceed as Makamba & co agree to 1997 shareholding

March 1st, 2015

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The sale of 40% a stake in Telecel to Brainworks will now proceed after warring Empowerment Corporation shareholders agreed to revert to the 1997 shareholding that they had when the company was awarded its initial license. The news was reported by FinX yesterday afternoon after the EC shareholders came to the compromise. The original shareholding of the Empowerment Corporation was […]

Is the DSTV annual price increase about to be announced in Zimbabwe?

February 27th, 2015

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Last year, DSTV South Africa announced it’s annual increase in prices to be effected on 1 April, we confirmed that Zimbabwe would follow suit. And they did. South Africa has once again announced an increase. So it goes without saying that chances are high we’ll likely have an increase too north of the Limpopo. By how much ofcourse is […]

Afrasia Bank, formerly Kingdom, shuts down. Joins several failed local banks

February 24th, 2015

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A report by the Financial Gazette just published says Afrasia Bank, formerly Kingdom Bank, was today placed under liquidation by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe after its shareholders surrendered their banking license. The parent company, Afrasia Bank Limited of Mauritius cannot commit any more money to the Zimbabwean operation and would rather just pull out. We last wrote […]

We interview Supa Mandiwanzira on the Telecel licence cancellation

February 24th, 2015

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Yesterday, ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira, met at his office with Phillip Chiyangwa, Jane Mutasa, POTRAZ acting DG Kennedy Dewera and others to discuss the recent announcement by the tech minister that Telecel’s licence had been cancelled. We managed to interview the minister after the meeting. In the interview he distanced himself from the shareholding squabbles that have […]

How Zing, a messaging app, plans to grow in Zimbabwe using Caps United

February 23rd, 2015

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So yesterday we wrote about a South Africa messaging startup called Zing. To understand what it is, just think of WhatsApp, but with the other stuff you’ve wished it had, like marketing capabilities for businesses and news inside the app. Last week, they signed a sponsorship deal with one of Zimbabwe’s top Premier Soccer League football clubs, Caps […]

This South African IM app just sponsored a Zimbabwean PSL football team

February 22nd, 2015

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Like most of you, the announcement that Zing is sponsoring (or partnering to run a Zimbabwean football club) is the first we’re learning of this messaging app and the startup. But yeah, a report on Soccer24 says a South African messaging startup has is sponsoring one of Zimbabwe’s biggest football clubs, and apparently also helping […]

Zim ICT Minister ‘cancels’ Telecel’s licence. Accuses Vimpelcom of speculation

February 22nd, 2015

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The Telecel shareholding situation, which we last wrote about here when it became clear that the sale to Brainworks was not going to go smooth (Mutasa opposed the selling, won, and James Makamba eventually acknowledged they were not selling) was essentially back to square one of impasse. Well, until the sudden announcement by new ICT Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira, reported […]

By the numbers: 6 interesting facts about telecoms & internet in Zimbabwe

February 5th, 2015

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1. Zimbabwe’s mobile penetration 87% now. This figure is based on the number of active sim cards in the country.   2. Zimbabwe’s total number of active SIM cards reported, 11.4 million, is actually not the number of people that own mobile phones. Some people have more than one SIM from the same operator (smartphone, internet […]

Finally, someone to buy Telecel. Brainworks moves to end Indigenisation Impasse

January 28th, 2015

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In a move that’s likely to breath new life into Telecel Zimbabwe, local private equity equity investment and advisory firm, Brainworks Capital Management, has offered to buy the 40% minority stake held by the Empowerment Corporation in the telecoms firm. A report in today’s Herald Newspaper says the investment firm has offered some $20 million for the stake. […]

Facebook Lite launched in Zimbabwe, SA, Nigeria & 5 other countries

January 26th, 2015

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Our first reaction when we read that Facebook has launched a new Facebook Lite Android app, was that this is old news because it exists (or existed) already. So we searched and found this – a simple version of the Facebook website that was trialed and shut down in April 2010 – and this – a Facebook java app […]

What happens when Netflix says it’s “coming to Africa”

January 23rd, 2015

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As you many know, on-demand internet streaming movie service, Netflix, announced it quarterly results this week. Growth in the US is slowing apparently, so Netflix is looking to outside its home to regain fast growth. Traditionally, something you’re probably super frustrated by if you’re in Africa, netflix doesn’t allow much streaming outside the US and Canada. So those too keen […]

Mama Money to launch SA-to-Zimbabwe money transfers to Textacash wallets

January 23rd, 2015

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You might have heard that a new South Africa to Zimbabwe remittance service called Mama Money is coming in the next couple of weeks. The key problem that Mama Money identified is that it’s still very expensive for migrants in the country to remit back home so they are bringing a new and somewhat anti-capitalist thinking to […]

About the accuracy and reliability of Zimbabwe’s mobile telecoms stats

January 22nd, 2015

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In Zimbabwe, there’s been a lot of confusion of the the mobile subscriber statistics released regularly by the mobile operators themselves to shareholders, as well as those released by POTRAZ, the regulator of the space. Recently for example, when we wrote that Telecel’s active subscribers were down again for the 3rd consecutive quarter, the company pointed […]

Worldremit partners MTN globally. Gets access to some 22mil mobile wallets

January 22nd, 2015

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WorldRemit, the guys that partnered Econet to allow Zimbos globally to remit money direct to EcoCash wallets, have just announced a new partnership with the MTN Group that will see them enabling direct remittances to MTN’s mobile money wallets. This gives them access to some 22.2 million customers in 16 countries across Africa. Quite a huge deal! The […]

WhatsApp finally comes to the desktop. It’s a web app!

January 21st, 2015

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If you’re like us here, you’ve wished too many times for a dekstop based WhatsApp. It makes life so much easier for those that spend their day at a desk. Or just those that need to do a lot of WhatsApp stuff like administering groups. So yes, it’s here. WhatsApp made the announcement on their blog […]

Lance Mambondiani appointed Steward Bank acting CEO

January 21st, 2015

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Lance Mambondiani has been appointed the Acting CEO at Steward Bank as his boss, Kwanele Ngwenya leaves the organisation at the end of the month. Earlier this month several publications carried the story of Ngwenya’s exit with some referring to it as less ceremonious. Mambondiani’s appointment was approved today by the Reserve Bank and communicated by the Chairman of the bank, Oluwatomisin Fashina. […]

Here’s Econet new job search service… moving on, 50 cents poorer

January 21st, 2015

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Remember the USSD & SMS mobile jobs services that local mobile operators have suddenly realised they could offer too. Pressured by the revenue decline caused by the government (new taxes), the government (new regulation), the government (ill economy) and those evil Over The Top apps (WhatsApp), mobile operators have entered panic mode and are picking up […]

Net neutrality & mobile network operators: Are they startup kingmakers?

January 20th, 2015

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Last year, when I wrote that we should all be worried about the path we’re going down when mobile operators start to have influence what internet subscribers can have access and no one has a problem with it. I wrote this because I was (and still am) worried that mobile operators, by making WhatsApp, Facebook and Opera individually […]

Looking for developers and designers in Zimbabwe? You could try Ndiringe

January 19th, 2015

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“Do you know a good developer that I can work with?” is a question I get asked often. My response changes every so often depending on whoever is top of mind then and sometimes, when someone I know has been let down by whoever I was recommending, my advice is that they try the freelance marketplaces online. The truth is […]