Since TrustCo terminated the Econet agreement some 2 weeks ago, TrustCo hadn’t spoken about the issue. It is Econet Chairman, Tawanda Nyambirai, who gave the Econet side of the story which basically amounted to: TrustCo demanded more money than was due to them, spammed Econet subscribers, threatened to terminate the agreement when Econet complained about all this and when Econet called their buff, they backed out but Econet wouldn’t have it. You can read those reasons in detail here.
On Friday, the TrustCo Mobile side of the story started to come out. There’s more in the today’s Herald. The Namibian parent company is suing Econet over unpaid royalties and to prohibit Econet from infringing on TrustCo Mobile’s Intellectual Property Rights for the Ecolife system. TrustCo is basically saying Econet is not being generous with the truth and that the fallout reasons Nyambirai gave the press are a bit twisted.
For starters, TrustCo is reported to be saying the main cause of the fallout is that Econet wouldn’t pay royalty fees and when TrustCo complained about this (via a notice of default), Econet terminated the agreement, severing TrustCo’s access to the Ecolife system. Apparently Econet still owes TrustCo some US $4.8 million in unpaid royalty fees.
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On the infamous 31111 messages, TrustCo says its actions were not ultra vires, in other words it was within the provisions of the contract.
The TrustCo Group Chief Executive Officer, Quinton van Rooyen also said the Ecolife subscriber number which Econet claims TrustCo overstated are not overstated at all, and that Econet itself has publicly quoted the same number to international press.
As for the demand by TrustCo for more royalty fees (US$1.11) than a previously agreed US$1 TrustCo says Econet agreed to the adjustment in an amendment to the agreement effected on January 24.
In the meantime TrustCo’s move to prevent Econet from infringing on TrustCo’s Intellectual Property Rights seems aimed at forestalling Econet’s efforts to migrate the Ecolife concept to a new core system, either built by Econet itself or outsourced to another partner. Econet has assured its subscribers that the Ecolife problems are temporary and that Econet has already identified and is in the process of migrating to another system.
Last month TrustCo Mobile Chief Operating Officer told Techzim that the Trustco Mobile Concept was developed by the Strategic Software Development division of Trustco and that the concept itself is patented worldwide and the IP vests in Trustco Mobile Mauritius.