We last wrote about Ecolife back in October when we got information from Trustco that they had been granted an order to execute judgment handed down in July against Econet Wireless. The July judgment reads in part:
First Applicant (Trustco Mobile (Pty) Ltd) and Second Applicant (Trustco Group International) are hereby allowed to execute the judgment” as “handed down in HC 6065/11 on 25 July 2011, notwithstanding First Respondent`s (Econet Wireless (Private) Ltd) appeal under S.C. 171/11
When we got this information, we asked our Econet contacts what would happen next; if they were going to comply or contest (or, for us at least, just comment). No one responded. We didn’t know if this was just denial of the reality or just embarrassment to admit they had lost this one. It doesn’t matter anymore which; new information suggests they knew they had lost that battle and they retreated into the strategy room determined to win the war.
Some several days ago, we learnt that Econet complied. Quietly. Ecolife, we’re told was switched on some few weeks ago. Three or four, according to our sources. At least two individuals close enough to know the truth have confirmed this.
If any advert was published in the press to announce the re-enabling of the system, we missed it. If any announcement was made to Ecolife subscribers about this development through SMS, then we missed that too. Even the Econet Facebook Group which is usually quite active with these kinds of updates didn’t have anything on the development. The Ecolife page on the Econet website has nothing helpful on the latest regarding Ecolife.
It’s almost as if Econet doesn’t want the subscribers (and the wider market) to know. They seem to have cleverly just switched on the system just to comply with the court order. Without announcing Ecolife to the subscribers, the bulk of them won’t even know it’s back. That way, for Econet it’s as good as switched off, and for Trustco, as bad as switched off.
In the meantime, Econet will work on their own Ecolife system, and they’ll work hard to ensure it doesn’t infringe on those Trustco patents that could get them into more trouble. Their Facebook group confirms they’re developing their own system:
We hope this will be cleared soon. In the meantime, we’re developing our own solutions to ensure your Ecolife is back in service as soon as possible. Your cover is secure.
It’s working quite well for Econet; No one will trouble them. Not Trustco; not anymore. Not the subscribers; the bulk of them don’t even know the extent of their legal rights here. Econet is the big winner in the grand scheme of things. Trustco (and its shareholders) may not feel the loss now, but if this works out like it should for Econet, they’ll wake up one day and realise the win was a loss.
The biggest losers though are the subscribers. Those 1.6 million individuals that religiously watched their airtime balance and bought more each month to maintain their life insurance cover threshold. They’ve been left in the dark. Only a few will remember Ecolife when their cover is due. Those that do remember don’t have enough information on how to redeem it.