In 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.