Information we’ve received from reliable sources confirms that Telecel Zimbabwe’s mobile money service, Telecash, will finally be launched in Harare this week. The service, which we’re told will launch without fail this time, was initially scheduled to launch in the 4th quarter of 2013 but faced serious delays.
The Telecash product is a result of Telecel realising how big a mistake they made letting their first attempt at mobile money die. The company has, for the past 2 years, watched as Econet’s disruption of the financial services industry with EcoCash played out rapidly. Disruption that they, as a first mover, could have led had they seen the mobile payment opportunity in such clear terms that Econt certainly did.
The product itself looks and works pretty much like EcoCash save for a few features that may arguably make it more convenient to use for subscribers. Telecel also comes to a market where the concept of mobile money is not new which means spending much less than their competition in educating and structuring the ecosystem. We have also been told that Telecel is looking to be much more friendlier to banks than Econet generally has.
Econet has reported that it now has more than 3 million subscribers on EcoCash, a number much more than Telecel’s total 2.5m mobile subscribers. NetOne, the government owned mobile operator, also has a mobile money product in launched in 2011 called OneWallet.
Update: Telecel will host a press briefing tomorrow morning to officially announce Telecash.