If you’re anything like us here at the office, we have a hard time trying to remember what code it is to top up airtime on each network, send a ‘call me back’, activate missed call alert, buy Facebook and/or WhatsApp bundles, etc. The mobile networks don’t make it any easier as on a weekly basis they are introducing new products and services continually and these are all accessible from USSD codes, you know, those *xxx# thingies!
Well, finally, someone has had about enough of this and done something about the situation.
Enter ZimCodes, an android app developed by Tatenda Hove of Fundamental Technologies that aims to address the very same problem. It covers all the GSM mobile networks, though would be great had it also touched on our CDMA networks as well (i.e. Africom and PowerTel) and has a host of commands for all networks allowing one to check their balance, access their mobile wallet accounts and more.
The app is available from here (UPDATE: It is now available in Google Play) and from my discussion with Hove earlier he advises that he is working on the app concept being available for other platforms (iOS, Blackberry, Windows) with priority being for you Nokia S40/S60 users. Great idea. Especially since Nokia makes up for more than 50% of market share here in Zimbabwe. Would be interesting to see how they integrate the click to call feature for feature phones.
Interesting thing about this app, is that they have managed to expound on the Ecocash apps, both official and unofficial, adding a whole lot more functionality. Telecel (well at least Telecash) it would seem do not have long USSD codes that one can use to access their mobile money service. Just a matter of turning a switch?
As for means to monetisation, Hove states that they have a directory section where hopefully they will get businesses signed on and availing their details for a fee.
I would have thought that the mobile operators would be interested to advertise on such a platform. Allowing users to buy airtime, either through PayPal (that is now available in Zimbabwe) or their mobile wallets (an Ecocash customer being able to buy Telecel airtime anyone?). Giving details of where I can find a shop or authorised dealer for each network and what time their operating hours are would be an ideal feature. Something the operators are currently not doing.
It could evolve into a customer care app, not too sure whether they would want to go down this road.
Definitely the app is valuable for international visitors/tourists but even more so for locals who just can’t keep up with the codes that are continually launched and no relief being in sight for the end users.
Would you use this app? What would you want them to add to it to make it more valuable for you?