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Econet suspends EcoCash mobile money transfers to other networks

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Unlike other mobile banking offerings that have emerged on the market, customers using EcoCash are not required to have a bank account, do not need to switch their SIM cards for new ones, and can move money across different mobile networks.

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That was the word Econet gave the market when they launched EcoCash back in September 2011. And it made so much sense. Being able to send money instantly from anywhere you are to anyone with a mobile phone in Zimbabwe. Regardless of how many actually get to use this capability of the service, this no doubt helped pull millions into opening accounts.

And then last week, some cracks appeared:

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We regret that you will not be able to send money to Telecel mobile numbers using EcoCash as Telecel is not a valid Telecoms license holder.

Big deal but temporary, we thought. As soon as the fighting about interconnection and licenses stops, all broken services (and promises) will be fixed. Not so. It’s widening if anything. Econet broadcast another EcoCash message yesterday:

“Dear EcoCash Customer. Kindly note that you can only send money to Econet numbers until further notice. Any inconvenience caused is sincerely regretted”

Closed. Done. Either you are on the Econet network to receive money from your contacts on EcoCash, or you’re not and there’s just no mobile money for you. Well there’s OneWallet, and the soon to be re-launched Skwama. Considering NetOne’s OneWallet hasn’t been visible much, that leaves subscribers with little choice.

Do we know what’s going and why? Officially not yet. We’ve been promised a response to our emails and we eagerly await it. We thought Econet would actually want more EcoCash traffic.

A far fetched benefit-of-doubt reason would be that they have been told to suspend cross network transfers. But then again even this doesn’t make sense as regulators would be more for open platforms than this. We’ll be updating you as we get more information.

image credit: redbubble.com


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9 thoughts on “Econet suspends EcoCash mobile money transfers to other networks

  1. Hahaha this was coming. Econet is now tightening it’s services for just itself. It got the public to swallow hook, line and sinker to the service, then bam it shut the doors. So now everyone wanting to use Ecocash, join Econet. To me that sounds wrong to just abruptly cut off such a huge service like that to many people. The inconvenience created will be huge but should benefit Econet in the long run as people will want to use the service. But the main worry is if your bank is using Ecocash and you are suing Telecel, what next? Change networks? Also since it is an Econet product not a default network service, should people complain/moan/groan/whine? Example, M-Pesa in Kenya is only for Safaricom?Vodacom.

    Still, this will be nice juicy point for the banks to use when they state that Econet was up to no good, especially the CABS, Barclay’s and Standard Chartered Banks

    This is very interesting indeed…..:D

    1. BBM only on blackberry devices (at first, in SA at least, thousands got their berries) look how that turned out. They need to be careful. They could be opening up room for some other players (think BBM >>>Whatsapp)

  2. bigger question… whta happens to the users of ecocash on other networks like telecel that had cash in there wallets, how can they use/access that cash?

  3. Would love the writter to take a look at ewallet being offered by zbbank.no bank account required and the service is by far much cheaper as compared to ecocash.

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