Astro’s plans to launch local a content app store have been delayed because the company failed to secure APIs to integrate with EcoCash and Telecash for payments. Astro had planned to unveil the “Astro Mobi Store” during the recently held e-Tech Africa Expo. Astro had fliers printed for the expo advertising the Astro Mobi store but they could not secure APIs to launch it as a “complete product”.
A few weeks ago we had announced that Astro was on the verge of releasing a local content mobile store called “Astro Mobi”. Among other things, Astro claims that all music sold through the Astro Mobi store will be encrypted to only play on the “Astro Mobi Player”, thereby curbing piracy.
However, a high placed source at Astro said Telecel refused them access to the Telecash API maybe because Telecel is also working on a similar product. Astro was also upbeat about landing the EcoCash API but that too didn’t pen out as anticipated.
This has delayed the launch of the Astro Mobi store. The company is currently working on ways to bypass official integration with both EcoCash and Telecash and they are looking forward to launching before the end of this month with both payment options available, albeit manually.
Historically, Econet had always been adamant of releasing the EcoCash API which we discovered they are using to set up an EcoCash online payments gateway. However, with Telecel, this seems a bit of a surprise especially with Telecel preaching interoperability during the launch of Telecash.
We tried to get a comment from both Telecel and Econet but we were unsuccessful.
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