A tip that came to us via Twitter today suggest Econet is now registering EcoCash users automatically. Meaning, in short, that if you’re an Econet subscriber, you’ll now automatically – with no action on your part – become an EcoCash mobile money subscriber. If true, this will boost EcoCash subscribers from the current 3.5 million to possibly around 8.5 million.
How this is different from the current (soon to be previous) way of registration is that to subscriber a customer is required to register their personal details, with a valid photo ID card, at any Econet shop or agent counter in the country.
It makes sense for Econet to do this as they already have the subscriber’s registration details via the KYC sim registration that is mandatory. To register for EcoCash, there’s none of the passport size photo business that goes on at the banks. And since an EcoCash account doesn’t attract any monthly charges, it’s not like it’s going to hurt anyone to have an unused ‘active’ account.
We’re guessing once the new way is effected Econet subscribers will receive a message welcoming them to EcoCash.
We asked Econet about it this morning and they promised to send an official update to the press, which usually means there indeed is something official taking place.
As a strategy to boost mobile money subscribers, this is not really something new. In Zambia for example, in December 2013, Airtel is said to have used the SIM registration exercise as an opportunity to register customers to their Airtel Money service.
Why Econet is doing it now points mostly to the threat of competition that is Telecash.
More on this when we get an official update.