We have been contacted by Peterson Tengende, who is the VAS entrepreneur accusing Telecel Zimbabwe of stealing his quiz VAS concept. His company, together with another one called Jet Telecom, are demanding that Telecel pay them $340,000 as settlement for implementing the quiz VAS concept without them. In his email to us, Tengende details what he says is proof that Telecel ripped the idea from his proposal.
We post below part of the email:
They are running with campaign we proposed, including name….
(1) “Mega Promo” is a term we coined. We ran a campaign called “Airtel Mega Cash” in Zambia.
They are using name “Mega Promo”. It’s a noun. They can’t claim to have thought of the name Mega Promo even before I had sent the proposal to them in January…they would have told me so….they told me SOS Credit, another initiative we proposed at the same time, would not be accepted by them as they had “Emergency Airtime” or something soon to launch…different names…same concept.
Mandimika [Telecel’s Communications and Branding Director ] refers to “Mega Promotions” not as a noun….but describing a promotion as mega or big!
(2) The proposal I gave suggested:
The Mega Promo will produce winners through the following: v Daily Lucky Draw v Daily Quiz Winners v Weekly Lucky Draw v Weekly Quiz Winners v Monthly Lucky Draw v Monthly Jackpot v Mega Jackpot
The Mega Promo they are running will produce winners through the following: v Daily Quiz Winners x 2v Weekly Quiz Winners x 2v
(3) The proposal I gave suggested:
Promotion Mechanism, All the participants will enter the promotion with their SMS and Calls to the short code of the promotion. The short code is premium charged at $0.50 per sms and the calls will be charged at $0.50 per minute.
The Mega Promo they are running is charging sms at $0.25 (we would have bought sms’s from them at $0.25 and sold them at $0.50…they don’t have to buy from themselves)
(4) At the time of proposal, no Mobile Network Operator in the country had the software application to handle quiz via a 5 digit Short Code where SMS’s would be sent. That’s why we were essential to Telecel as we had the system and they did not. They did not and they can NEVER BE ABLE TO PROVE THAT THEY HAD THE SYSTEM. They developed the system after they saw the need for it from our proposal. The Herald article has Mandimika tacit admission that they realised it was a money spinner “AFTER” meeting us!
(5) The proposal stated “The campaign is deliberately designed to produce many winners on a daily basis, building up excitement for the bigger prizes to be won during the weekly, monthly and final campaign draws.”…this [is what] they are doing.
(6) Campaign would run for 3 months. Theirs also runs for 3 months until 4 November.
(7) Promotional messages will be periodically sent to the users to convince them to participate in the promotion. (this they are doing via sms, radio, press).
(Their system is still unstable and clients are complaining that some response messages are not going through….it is because the demand is huge and we knew demand would be huge when we proposed)
The concept of sending sms to a premium charged SHORT CODE was a unique feature in our proposal…no campaign in the country before then had included that concept with quiz and accumulation of points to determine winner.
The Quiz as a way of selecting winners was unique……most previous campaigns by Mobile Network Operators entailed random lucky draw and entering draw automatically by recharging a certain amount.