So we finally got a response from Econet PR on the issue of them automatically registering Econet voice subscribers to the EcoCash mobile money service. It’s basically a, “no we don’t do that” response. Here’s the full response:
Econet has and continues to experience exponential growth of its popular EcoCash service, whose customer base is growing in response to our rapid expansion of the EcoCash footprint across Zimbabwe. The popularity of EcoCash is testimony of the convenience it is providing as an alternative and cost-efficient mobile money transfer and payment service. It is not our policy to automatically register customers, as they are always given the choice to register, as well as opt out of the service. The fact that our customer base using EcoCash has grown rapidly since its launch in September 2012 shows that our customers are choosing not to opt out of the service. We also wish to point out that regulation requires that we positively identify the customer being registered on the platform and this requires that we obtain copies of their national identity card as well as proof of residence. We have this in place for every customer registered on EcoCash.
Yes, we too think that answer is way too verbose for the simple question of whether they are now registering voice subscribers to EcoCash automatically or not. Verbose usually means something is not quite right. But to fish out one statement that actually responds to the questions: “It is not our policy to automatically register customers, as they are always given the choice to register, as well as opt out of the service.” That statement basically says they shouldn’t do it, but doesn’t quite say they are not doing it.
It’s clear right now that many people that had not registered to the EcoCash mobile money service, did receive SMS notifications. You just need to check the comments to the article earlier today to confirm it. Or the comments on the Facebook post. Econet is not denying this in their response. They are just choosing not to talk about it. Which is very strange.
So anyway, we did check with a source at the company, and so far what we’re getting from them is that the message went out because of a technical glitch in the EcoCash system. Very strange. According to this source, the regulators of the local financial services sector, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), did get wind of the auto-registrations and approached Econet to demand answers. The source says Econet sold this glitch story to the RBZ.
We’re not buying that response up there. It’s too spin doctored. The glitch story sounds closer to the truth but it too is hard to buy. If that was indeed a genuine technical glitch, why not just come out, admit and apologise for it.
We suspect the truth lies in an experiment someone there made. An experiment that they quickly realised was way beyond the line.
We’re posted an update to this article here.
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