Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates


New Econet Services company a response to plateaued telecoms business

Econet WirelessIn October last year, it emerged that the Econet Wireless Group had formed a new company to drive the EcoCash mobile money service. Econet Services. The new company wasn’t “launched” or “announced” formally in the market, as far as we could tell at least. The change was treated subtly by Econet in as far as the market was concern. For our part, we could only read that Econet was taking mobile money quite seriously. Serious enough to hire a separate CEO for the company, as well as hire former M-PESA talent.

In an interview with GSMA recently, Econet Services CEO Darlington Mandivenga, said Econet Services is a strategic response to stagnating (and possibly declining) revenues in the telecoms business. Increased competition and market saturation, he said, have basically plateaued revenues at a company that has experienced exponential growth in the past 5 years.

Econet Services, said Mandivenga is here to venture into non-telecoms business. “Anything outside that; in the financial services, insurance, micro insurance, micro health, agriculture… on mobile phone based applications” he explained.

Mandivenga also discussed some other interesting items to note in the interview, including the following:

  • That EcoCash is now processing transactions worth about US $150 million a month on the back of 7 million transactions a month. This is up from $70 million disclosed in October last year.
  • Volume of transactions to date (since launch) is about $700m.
  • 80% of the revenue on transactions  goes to the agents as Econet considers the distribution network critical to the business. The business wants customers to have an EcoCash agent within a 500 meter radius of each subscriber.
  • Even though Peer to Peer payments will remain dominant, the business would like to promote the use of EcoCash more as payment system than just P2P. Specifically, they would like to resolve existing problems with the use of cash in Zimbabwe (change being one).

Good to watch all the videos on that page to get a useful glimpse into the company’s strategy with EcoCash.

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13 thoughts on “New Econet Services company a response to plateaued telecoms business

  1. Until these selfish folks realize the importance of developer communities and their ability to disrupt even their most profitable markets, I hope they continue running into plateaus at even faster rates. I for one am tired of people praising Econet as the ideal indigenous company yet it wants to keep all innovation and potential under lock and key. Skype killed voice, Whatsapp is killing SMS, WiFi sharing will kill data bundles and eventually that little exorbitantly priced, offline-only, closed API EcoCash will be overtaken by cheaper more open and internationally available options… a process Dwolla is jump starting Then you will understand the importance of working with developers. Yours is a tech world, and despite how rich you are… developers and their interest in your platform are king. Then what are you going to do? TV? Aereo will be waiting for you.

    I hope your directors and management end up doing prosperity gospel. Change is inevitable… and your behemoth of a monopolistic bureaucracy shall come to pass.

    1. Lolest! bitter developer! When Mark Zuckerberg and steve jobs developed Facebook and Apple respectively they never complained or screamed around like you doing. I can see you are a Real developer used to coding same lines daily. If you were an innovator you would see opportunities around EcoCash and develop something cheap and affordable which people will like. We must not just complain lets learn to compete and innovate in order to compete. Facebook took MySpace out of the game so why can’t you mr developer come up with something better. Talk is cheap bhururu

      1. Ah iwe you do realize Zuckerburg and Jobs were all in the USA…as in a top 10 nation to do business in…not Zimbabwe. So whatever challenges they faced there, they could overcome far more quicker, but the challenges faced here can only by dealt with in a certain way that involves dirty politics not market forces and its comments like yours that show that clearly you yourself have never tried to do anything “disruptive” in this country. I have a friend that tried to start a pretty innovative business here…it failed due to our hostile tech environment and amount of directors pockets that needed to be greased for them to even look at the product…yet, he took the exact same model to the UK and is now getting ready to quit his full time job.

  2. I watch all 7 clips. Mr D. Mandivenga thanks for looking beyond your raw technology and focus on finding ways to help customers solve their problems but no company or CEO is successful without a strong management team. Employ experienced developers to get most competitive Apps, that’s what you need to do, that’s my advice to you.

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