21 Jan 2015

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

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 […]


24 Oct 2014

Dear ZIMRA: How about paying taxes through mobile money?

In Kenya it’s now possible to pay taxes via mobile money. According to a recent report in Mobile Money Africa, mobile operator Airtel has partnered with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to introduce the new service. This service will allow subscribers to inquire about KRA services, generate a KRA payment reference number which will be […]

 
13 Jun 2014

Econet investigated for anti-competitive behaviour in mobile money business

A report in the Herald today says Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is being investigation by the Competition and and Tariffs Commission (CTC) for anti-competitive business practices around it’s relationship with local financial institutions on mobile money and mobile banking. The issue is really that of the banks wanting neutral access to the Econet’s network subscribers via regular USSD (and […]

 
13 Mar 2014

Econet re-enables EcoCash USSD long codes. Android apps likely to emerge

Remember the EcoCash Droid app that lived for one day? Well the thing that Econet did to make it go away – disabling long USSD codes – has just been reversed with a new campaign called Transact faster-faster. A Twitter user, one muushafarie, pointed us to an ad in a local daily this morning. EcoCash faster-faster looks […]


14 Jan 2014

Exclusive: Econet finally opening up full USSD level mobile money to the banks

Sources in the industry have exclusively told us that Econet has finally given in to the pressure of the banks, regulatory authorities to open up full USSD functionality for the ZimSwitch mobile money transfer services. Specifically, this means in the coming weeks and months, banks, through the ZimSwitch Shared Services platform, will be able to […]

    
11 Apr 2012

SMS, USSD and the mobile web: Zimbabwe is not that country

It was just a few months ago, sitting with the CEO who had moved back into the country after working as a successful starter-up in the US. The interview part hadn’t started and I was shaking a bit (he had come to pick me up in a classy vehicle and drove me to his classy house so yes I’m not used to being so..I don’t know). He was narrating his experiences in the States and how you could earn big from the silliest of apps or nothing from a huge idea. Then he leaned forward, reached in his pocket and brought out a monochrome phone and said “If you want to be big in Africa, you can’t go wrong with mobile. This is the only way. The regular guy knows SMS…[bla bla bla]“. I nodded and shook (50-50). He was definitely not the first to tell me this, and wasn’t the last but I wasn’t and still am not convinced.



Of installing open source software and starting an internet business

Classifieds (and business directories), like Social Networking, are a favourite with local tech startups. Very much so you’d think with all this work addressing the classifieds problem, it’d be solved by now. That an ordinary person would be able to easily post an ad to platform with any device they have and within minutes be getting calls, and hopefully by the end of the day have a couple of serious leads. You know, the way it works when you throw a classified ad in the paper.

 
6 Mar 2012

Are new social media disaster apps suitable for Africa?

Natural disasters always have casualties when they strike, and the drama goes on after the strike when family and friends have no one to answer them when they call to check who made it out and who didn’t. Although a simple phone call can be made, it’s usually not enough to check on all your acquaintances to check on you as well as for you to check on them.


17 Feb 2012

Facebook access without the web. Orange follows FMNA, Gemalto

The one thing clear about telecoms in Africa is that basic phones still rule. There’s another thing too clear to ignore; it is that people on the continent love Facebook. Facebook is so popular, for many Africans Facebook’s the first point of contact with the Internet. Orange has woken up to this fact. The mobile operator will be launching Facebook via USSD in Africa.