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Telecel complains to POTRAZ over access to EcoCash agents, directed to RBZ

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Picture: Telecel’s Financial Services Director: Nkosinati Ncube

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It appears the war for mobile money agents is escalating as we can reveal that Telecel lodged an official complaint with POTRAZ alleging that Econet is sabotaging their access to mobile money agents.

Last week sources at Telecel revealed to Techzim that Telecel was “going the regulator route” after Telecel increasingly got frustrated by Econet’s alleged sabotage of Telecel’s efforts to sign up agents for Telecash. Apparently Telecel is leveraging on EcoCash’s already established agent network to establish its own mobile money product. In turn, Econet is allegedly sabotaging these efforts by threatening their agents that signing up with Telecash will result in disconnection with EcoCash.

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POTRAZ Deputy Director General Alfred Marisa confirmed to Techzim today that Telecel lodged an official complaint over the issue. However, Mr Alfred Marisa said they told Telecel to direct their complaints to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) as mobile money issues are not under POTRAZ’s regulatory jurisdiction.

The contents of the Telecel’s complaint detailing Telecel’s sabotage claims against Econet are not exactly clear at this stage.

Although Econet denies these allegations, there is no denying that they will not be too happy co-sharing agents they heavily invested in (an investment that Telecel seems eager to avoid). Threatening agents is totally unethical, but Econet shouldn’t be expected to hand over these agents to Telecel on a silver platter for obvious business reasons. It’s easy to understand Econet’s position but the alleged methods of enforcing their stance are questionable.

One contentious question that Telecel should address is what is stopping them from building a fresh agent network? This will give income opportunities to other people who are not already EcoCash agents.

The alleged sabotage is said to be in the form of verbal threats to agents by Econet employees which, in any case, will be difficult for Telecel to prove.


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17 thoughts on “Telecel complains to POTRAZ over access to EcoCash agents, directed to RBZ

  1. Econet is not threatening them, it is simply telling them the terms of its relationship with its agents. How can an agent have two masters of competing interests…….most contracts explicitly prohibit such………………….with 90% unemployment and low economic activity, they cant even find agents ………….written failure all over the product

    1. Does the agency agreement exclude that, and is it even legal if indeed it does exclude. How do you explain the same Agents like ZIMPOST, TM, SPAR marketing products from Econet, Telecel, Western Union, Mukuru etc?

  2. Well, probably there is no law against Telecel’s move, unless there is a clause in the MoU between EcoCash and its agents. If no such clause exist, then this is a loophole that Telecel is making use of and so why shouldn’t they make use of the ‘opportunity’?

    Meanwhile, we sit back and closely follow the developments in the mobile money industry…Telecel DISRUPT!!!

    1. You should not reap where you did not sow but Telecash/Telecel, never mind everything and anything about disruptive innovation, is intent on doing exactly that. And of course we all know the political muscle they are banking on. After all their new MD, PZ, boasts of his political connections brazenly and openly in his efforts to try and sustain the fortunes of this company. As we debate, Telecel have not yet even paid their renewal subscription or part of it despite all the lies to the contrary. In spite of my loathing of this ill managed outfit, I wish James Makamba would come back to give it a proper facelift.

      1. You obviously know nothing about what you write about. Since when does Telecel have an MD with initials PZ. Please stick to B-Metro.

    2. What Econet is doing has no basis in the law. That is why they disavowed the SMSes sent as unofficial, and are sticking to verbal threats that do not leave an evidence trail. The actiosn might be of questionable legality, but they undoubtedly immoral

  3. It is rather strange that Telecash have to go kuno Mhan’ara! Come on Nkosi boy, just build it! Anenge aramba siya! Do not be a cry baby, cheer up!

  4. For the love of competition and the greater good Telecel can you please start your own agent network. Show EcoCash what you made of kkkkkkkk. Telecash be serious this is business.

  5. Econet is being silly. I buy competing products from the same shop – Lobels Bread, Proton Bread, Bakers inn bread and the In-store baked bread. EcoCash Agents must be allowed to become agents of whoever they want. Why should my corner grocery store in Mabikacheche be forced to sell only Lobels Bread?

    1. Have you seen a bank housing two different money transfer agencies e.g money gram, western union or mukuru in the same bank no. Money and bread are two different issues. Choice is good yes, if i want Telecash then i go to a Telecash agent if i want Ecocash then i go to an Ecocash agent, if Telecel is allowed to do this, next thing you know is they want to sale their lines in an Econet Shop because Econet is sabotaging consumers from getting telecel lines. EcoCash built its own network Telecel should do the same or convince EcoCash agents to switch over, now that’s fair competition!

      1. You lack exposure my friend. Banks the world over house more than one money transfer agent. In any case, agents are not banks. Even your good old Zimpost hosts multiple money transfer agents – ECOCASH, ONEWALLET, TELECASH, MUKURU, WESTERN UNION etc. Like any bully, ECONET is picking on Mai Biggie Hair Salon and pretending ZIMPOST is a different type of Agent from Amai Biggie Hair Salon. ECONET Shops are owned by ECONET or their Franchisees. They can dictate what look and feel they want in there, as well as what products. They surely should not be barring Mai Biggie Hair Salon from selling NetOne, Telecel, Africom, Powertel, or any other service provider’s products. Of course, if you dont have the power to extrapolate, you wont have figured out that even tomorrow, the sun will still rise from The East and set in The West.

  6. Telecel thinks that POTRAZ is their sister company and I do not understand why they are allowed to operate without a licence.If they can not organize their agent base, then people should dump these useless parasites.

  7. Cry babies…….. They should focus their energies in creating their own agent network instead of targeting everyone who has an Ecocash Agent Sticker. In fact once their Telecash Agents start really making money….the ecocash agents will come and apply on their own.

  8. If what Econet is doing is not illegal, it is certainly immoral & reprehensible – they know it, which is why they are leaving no paper-trail/evidence.

    Telecel pioneered pay-as-you-go plans locally with ‘Mango’, and established a network of resellers (lets call them agents). There is a reason ‘juicing airtime’ became the generic term for loading airtime (it was because that’s what Telecel called it). When ‘Buddie’ burst on the scene, they were very keen to “access” these agents. Why didn’t they establish their own parallel structure.

    Can you imagine how inconvenient it would be if airtime vendors where operator-specific? As it is with airtime, so should it be with money transfer.

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