It’s not very often that I buy the newspaper. More so on a Sunday. I mean I can get all the news I want online. WhatsApp and Facebook bundles allow me to consume all I can for less than $3 per month. Why would I still need to get my hands on news that was sourced over 24 hours ago. In this day and age of instant consumption of information, newspaper publications too having realised this and have adopted a “digital first” approach to the publication of content. The value proposition for wanting to buy a physical newspaper has diminished.
Well, imagine my pleasant surprise when I bought The Sunday Mail this morning and got through reading it. Sadly (for us “onliners”), a number of brands have not yet caught on to the digital first trend and hence prefer to publish in a physical newspaper, that has a way lower reach and is filled with outdated articles that have been read online already. To be honest, my main reason for buying The Sunday Mail, was for the adverts. Call me crazy, but I’m one who looks forward to the adverts on DStv (don’t know when last I watched ZBC) and see how captivating they are.
Well, I wasn’t let down.
There were a host of articles and adverts, sadly only in the print version with there being no respective online version being available, that caught my attention and I’m sure the Zimbabwean tech public will be interested to know about.
The Sunday Mail Articles/Adverts that impressed
1. Tax relief for pro-youth firms
“Companies that employ a certain quota of graduates from vocational training centres will benefit from tax incentives and other freebies, a senior Government official said.”
This was found on the front page of The Sunday Mail. Interesting indeed. If true, the Minister says that this is all in line with Zim-Asset and could absorb thousands of students who have been through VCT’s, while also giving a tax break to employers. For your information, VCTs enroll those less academically gifted (us with less than 5 O’Levels and school dropouts – you see dad, there’s still life after all those cups!!!) Just recently, in my second year now, of becoming tax compliant, I appreciate this effort being made if they manage to pull it off. However, we would be interested to know whether they teach ICT tailored courses at these VCTs and how industry ready these students are. Do they teach code? Does this bring relief to you and your business? Do you see yourself hunting down these VCT-trained and qualified students when they start offering tax breaks?
2. Econet Wireless launch $10 per month smartphone deal
Econet took out a number adverts this past Sunday, but one of them stood out for me.
This has got to be exciting news. Econet advises that they are selling low-end smartphones for a super affordable price of $10 and $15 per month over a 24 month period! This definitely makes headway in increasing the uptake of smartphones locally, which stood at 10% for Econet.
Sad to note however, that Zim-Asset (which I just finished talking about above that the Government is pushing) is given a smack in the face. None of the brands that are on offer are “local” brands. No GTeL and/or no Astro. Not too sure whether these brands are not willing to come to the party or what the issue is. With GTeL having more than 250,000 devices in the market thus far, surely locals have accepted their brand. No?
Possible suggestion to Econet, to make it easier for low income users (this might even work with their Samnsung, and soon iPhone dealership) to allow them to access these devices at a low monthly premium and pay the difference through their airtime usage – kinda like what ZESA does when you’re buying your prepaid electricity. Perhaps every $0.20 of $1 airtime can go towards my phone purchase bill, the more airtime I buy, the quicker I finish off my payment obligations. Just a thought. Do I have an “Amen”?
3. NetOne reduces tariffs
NetOne chose the weekly publication to notify the public of a reduction in tariffs.
Network wars have returned (as if they ever died). NetOne reduced their calling rates to “just 14c/min” for both prepaid and post-paid (contract) subscribers. No complaints from this corner. The state owned mobile network operator once again took a stab at Telecel’s “tell someone” slogan and advised that you go further and “tell everyone”!!! Though not necessarily the cheapest (Telecel may still hold to that claim) it would be interesting to know whether this is a core balance calling rate or does a subscriber need to dial some USSD code to access this benefit? NetOne, though making slow strides, is holding its own in the arena here. There’s still their $1 a day promo and I just hope that this will translate to me being able to topup with $1, call at a rate of $0.14 per minute (across networks) and still enjoy those “unlimited” minutes calling other NetOne subscribers. Exciting times lie ahead.
4. TelOne ADSL tariffs reduced
Following in hot pursuit, albeit in the data spectrum, TelOne announces a reduction in tariffs and an increase in usage caps
I won’t take much away from the article that has been penned here on TechZim, save for questioning why do we still have data usage caps? TelOne who own their own fibre surely can remove such “archaic pricing models“.
5. Nyamukuta-like service launched in Bangladesh
“…half a million pregnant or new mothers and their families now have access to vital health information that is helping them care for themselves and their babies during one of the most critical times in their lives.”
Interesting to note that in Bangladesh there is a Nyamukuta-like service that has caught on like wildfire. More than 500,000 subscribers use the service. You may argue that their population is greater than ours (153 million to be exact), but still.
The service allows mother’s to follow the developments of their unborn child, what precautions to take, etc. Not too sure if you can find out the sex of your baby through the service. Just goes to show that the Nyamukuta team were not barking up the wrong tree. Interesting though is that the Bangladeshi service is SMS-based as opposed to an app. No downloading needed. Guess smartphone penetration is not that high elsewhere in the world too.
6. FBC Plastic card making headway
“… It is also believed that more than 9000 clients have applied for the FBC MasterCard Prepaid since January last year”
Interesting to note that FBC’s prepaid MasterCard is having a good run, as there are over 9000 people who have applied for the card and are using it to date. That number is only going to but increase, especially since PayPal is now opened to Zimbabwean cardholders. Great thing about this card is that one does not have to open a bank account hence you’re FREE from bank charges. Would be great to have these guys partner with one of the mobile money services. EcoCash? telecash already doing something similar. This would be a dream come true for the unbanked. With the card being used to make payments for air tickets, hotel bookings and school fees Zimbabwean entrepreneurs will be happy to note that locals are slowly warming up to eCommerce and mCommerce.
6. ICT Tenders
CIMAS (“Dr Facility”) and UNDP (LAN and Internet Infrastructure Installation and Commissioning for the MOHCC Electronic Patient Monitoring System (ePMS) for Health Centres) advertised Tenders relevant to our industry
There were a couple of invitations for tenders in The Sunday Mail this week, two being of interest to techies. I don’t seek to tell you what they are and the details thereof, but I aim to highlight the need for a portal that lists tenders that are available to Zimbabwean businesses.
Perhaps a website that can show what tenders are available, the requirements for those tenders, their deadlines, assistance in helping novices in how to complete a tender application. Points and tips in helping users in how to secure that tender maybe?
Means to monitisation can be a subscription service for tender applicants allowing them to have access and could also give them notifications when a tender that meets their specifications is uploaded, they’re sent a notification. Can someone add more to these specifications?
It has been a while since I’ve read a physical newspaper. Like I mentioned above, I get my information kinda instantly online so it’s been ages.
Well, nobody told me that there was a comedy section. In fact pages of it. Being a great fan of laughs and giggles I was overwhelmed in seeing the “Zimbabwe 2034 World Cup Dream”. I think someone has been watching too much Germany and Argentina and this may have gotten to their head. Definitely being overwhelmed by the event. Talks of $20 billion needed. For now let’s stick with our PlayStation and xBox’s for now Hon. Minister.
Did you manage to read the newspaper (The Sunday Mail) this Sunday, 13th July? Any articles you think are of interest to techies? Perhaps another publication had more interesting stories for you?