Author Archives: L.S.M Kabweza

Liquid Telecom increasing VSAT capacity

July 22nd, 2014

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With all the fibre trenching Liquid Telecom does in Africa, it’s easy to assume the company’s products are all around fibre. You couldn’t be further from reality. Even though the city and highway trenching is what is easy to see, Liquid is still very active on the satellite front. For obvious reasons really; fibre is nowhere near reaching every corner of the [...]

WeChat and Telegram were supposed to replace WhatsApp. What happened?

July 18th, 2014

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With 100 million users in its bag, a Chinese messaging app called Weixen decided to change its name to WeChat. A globally recognisable English name, an already globally recognisable look and feel, and a globally popular footballer as brand ambassador were going to do it. Not only was WeChat a WhatsApp, it was more. Much much more! Ads went [...]

iWayAfrica Zimbabwe now in the green. New products doing well, says source

July 16th, 2014

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In an article we posted earlier today about Gondwana’s new deal with SevenC Computing to have iWayAfrica Zimbabwe introduce new managed IT services, we indicated that iWayAfrica has had “lacklustre performance in recent years”. This, based on the $55,000 loss they made in 2012. A source close to iWayAfrica Zimbabwe sent us an email to provide more facts and to point us to [...]

Techzim Podcast: Interview with Webdev on the new Paynow internet payments

July 16th, 2014

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A couple of days ago, we interviewed Webdev’s Sales and Operations director, Vusi Ndebele, and technical lead, Mathew Hood on the launch of the company’s new internet payment gateway, Paynow. We discussed how the idea came about, what Paynow can do, e-commerce, where Paynow stands in relation to its competition, both locally and the PayPals [...]

Zimbabwe’s mobile penetration 106% as Econet grows to 9 million subscribers

July 16th, 2014

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A recent Q1 report by Zimbabwe’s telecommunications regulator, POTRAZ, says the country’s mobile penetration rate is now 106%, mowing mostly to the growth of Econet subscribers by about 4%. Econet’s total active mobile subscribers continue to grow and are now 9.07 million. The figure shows Econet has effectively grown it’s market share from about 63% in December, [...]

Webdev: We built the Paynow payments platform because we needed it

July 16th, 2014

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It is said the best startup idea is one which solves a personal pain the founder has. Not only does this mean they are solving a real problem, but usually also means they have the determination to go through what it takes to see the difficult process through to the having a working solution. The Paynow story is no different. [...]

POTRAZ not enforcing VSAT landing rights fees as it considers review

July 11th, 2014

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Speaking on the sidelines of the African Telecommunications Union conference here in Harare yesterday, the POTRAZ acting director general, Alfred Marisa, said that most that internet providers have not been made to pay the new VSAT landing rights fees. POTRAZ, he said, is considering reviewing the regulatory fees yet again as it seems it the new fees have had the unintended effect of [...]

MTN is actually already in Zimbabwe. Just not fighting with their usual weapons

July 7th, 2014

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Unbeknownst to most of us, MTN, Africa’s mobile telecoms giant, is actually already in Zimbabwe. They just aren’t fighting on the highly regulated front of mobile telecoms. In Zimbabwe, and other countries on the continent where MTN doesn’t do traditional mobile telecoms business, the company is now operating internet startups such as a newly launched [...]

Rocket Internet is bad for the African tech startup ecosystem, says Njoku

July 6th, 2014

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Jason Njoku, the Nigerian co-founder of iROKO Partners, speaks his mind. Often enough and candid enough he has enough people criticising him, especially in Nigeria itself. Take this piece he wrote in January this year for example in which he decries the lack of local internet company champions in Nigeria, a problem which, he said, had created ample space for the likes of [...]

To learn code, teach code

July 4th, 2014

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Some ten years ago, I was employed by a local private college to teach web development at weekends. A few years earlier I had taught myself a bit of PHP, html and css. Enough to build a decent ‘database driven website’, as they were called in those days. But I only knew the stuff I needed for that startup and [...]

Zimbabwe needs US $173 million for television digitisation by June 2015

July 3rd, 2014

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The Minister of of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, Jonathan Moyo, said today that the government needs US $173 million to complete the broadcasting digitisation migration. The $173 million, said the minister, will go to migrating existing transmitters, buying new digital transmitters, migrating the studios at Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), migrating monitoring equipment for the regulator and [...]

Telecash’s 600,000 subscribers means its growing almost as fast as EcoCash did

July 2nd, 2014

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A few days ago, Telecel’s General Manager, Angeline Vere disclosed that the company’s mobile money service that was launched 5 months ago, Telecash, now has 600,000 registered subscribers. This is an impressive number in  a number of ways, but mostly in comparison to Econet’s EcoCash, which has generally been regarded a success. Consider for example that in its [...]

Man in the mirror: What Econet can learn from being excluded by ZESA

June 30th, 2014

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Econet is unhappy about being excluded by ZESA from selling prepaid electricity tokens via the EcoCash mobile money platform. It doesn’t make sense to them how the government won’t let them provide convenience the market needs. The issue has come up in more than half of the conversations I’ve had with Econet executives these past 3 or so months. It’s [...]

The Facebook emotion manipulation experiment: Why the internet is outraged

June 29th, 2014

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So all this time people have been (or at least seem to be) mad at revelations that governments, the US government in particular, analyse everything you do and say online. Turns out there’s worse stuff to be worried about. There’s outrage right now about Facebook conducting tests on its users without their knowledge. You’d at first (like [...]

The decline of Mxit: App loses 25% users in South Africa

June 26th, 2014

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I have never really been a user of Mxit. But I have always known that to be more about my age than Mxit’s actual usefulness. School & college going users of the app have clearly had (or now it appears it’s ‘used to have’ ) good use for it for some time. Still, I used to encounter the Mxit [...]

NetOne by the numbers: 2.7mil subscribers, 200k OneWallet subs, $105M revenue

June 24th, 2014

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Last week’s parliamentary portfolio committee meeting on Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services where NetOne was giving oral evidence on One Wallet, was a blessing to those of us that are always knocking for information on closed systems. We didn’t attend ourselves, but the Financial Express has a brilliant collection of figures in the article they [...]

Umuntu shuts down iZimbabwe and others like it. Founder leaves for Gumtree

June 24th, 2014

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Recently, we noticed that the Umuntu Media founder, Johan Nel, has moved to Gumtree South Africa (an eBay owned company). Umuntu, if you remember, is the company behind iZimbabwe.co.zw, iZambia, iNamibia and other such news portals. What the startup is known for most is raising US $1 million in 2011 to do country portals that had local news, a [...]

NetOne almost made $3.5 mil profit in 2013

June 24th, 2014

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Yes almost. That’s what the MD Reward Kangai told a parliamentary portfolio committee recently. Almost because the company was surprised to see the taxman come after them and wipe the already meagre profit away. “Revenue has been going up and the financial statements were showing a profit but Zimra came up and put in penalties and [...]

Local websites, MetBank, ZiFM, Pastel, Chips and others, breached by hackers

June 20th, 2014

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A number of local website were in the past 3 months breached by hackers, amoung them the MetBank website, ZiFMStereo.co.zw, Pastel.co.zw, Chips.co.zw and other less familiar brands. The websites were breached on different occasions with the latest being that of ZiFMStereo, which was attacked two days ago. Most of the websites have been fixed, except for the Metbank’s which we notice is [...]

Ashraf Elguindy, Telecel Zimbabwe Chief Commercial Officer, resigns suddenly

June 20th, 2014

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Telecel Zimbabwe’s Chief Commercial Officer, has resigned. Suddenly. A number of trusted sources inside the company told us and confirmed that an email to staff was sent out yesterday evening by the Telecel Zimbabwe General Manager, Angeline Vere, advising everyone Elguindy had exited with immediate effect. The reason, apparently, is that he had chosen to pursue new opportunity elsewhere. Normally, this wouldn’t be news. [...]

Latest Techzim Podcast: ZESA loadshedding,

June 20th, 2014

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In this episode of the Techzim Podcast that recorded earlier this week we discussed In the power load-shedding by ZESA and how it affects startups, the new EcoCash Diaspora product they have partner WorldRemit to deliver, Mobile Money APIs, electronic payments in general, Paynow and finally the DSTV world cup blockage. Enjoy and lets discuss in the [...]

The Kombi ban, if it goes through, is an opportunity for mobile money operators

June 19th, 2014

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When Econet introduced the option for people to use the EcoCash mobile money to pay for their kombi (name for minibus in Zimbabwe) fares, the unanswered question was if the service would penetrate the highly chaotic public transport. The question was eventually answered ofcourse; the kombi chaos was not about to be disrupted. What is the chaos you may ask. Essentially, the [...]

Amazon launches the Fire Phone. Nothing here, let’s move on

June 18th, 2014

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Amazon’s launch of it’s new product line, a smartphone called Fire Phone, isn’t really news. Well, unless you’re in the US and unless you’re want a phone who primary goal is to sell you other Amazon services. It’s honestly quite irrelevant for us out here in the rest of the world. For starters, the phone will be available exclusively on a US [...]

Telecel launches TeleCash API. Invites developers, merchants to integrate

June 17th, 2014

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Exciting week of payments indeed! We can exclusively reveal that TeleCash, the mobile money service provided by Telecel Zimbabwe, has a live API and the mobile operator is now inviting developers and merchants to come integrate. We got confirmation today from the company’s Mobile Financial Services Director, Nkosinathi Ncube. Currently, Webdev (the company behind Paynow) is working on integrating [...]

The question of Zimbabwe’s VSAT landing rights fees and TelOne’s new service

June 17th, 2014

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During the Broadband Forum which Techzim hosted two weeks ago, it emerged that TelOne’s new VSAT service, the low cost Ka-Band they launch last month, may be in violation of new license fees stipulated by the government last year when license fees for telecoms services were revised. In Statutory Instrument 115 of 2013, which came into effect on 10 July [...]

An EcoCash parallel market for cross border remittances emerges in Botswana

June 17th, 2014

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Last week, Econet launched EcoCash Diaspora, basically a means for Zimbabweans outside the country – and there are millions upon millions out there – to remit money back home to relatives. But EcoCash and WorldRemit’s arrangement has two major weakness. 1) it’s not available where most of these millions of people are are. The big relevant markets it’s [...]

ZESA adds TelOne, Agribank to electricity coupon agents. Excludes Econet, Telecel

June 17th, 2014

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The mobile payments revolution of the past three years has brought unparalleled convenience to Zimbabwe. Just as it has in many African countries. It has meant significantly less hassle in moving money (and therefore value) between people and between people and business. Everything from paying your water bill, pay TV subscription, insurance and even school fees. ZESA, however, chooses [...]