That headline sounded a lot like some early 2000s cheesy advert, but there just isn’t any other way to put it really.
NetOne, Zimbabwe’s second largest mobile network operator, is on the brink of launching two new products. Just like what we have seen with the strategy to lure more subscribers, It’s really hard to not look at this as another response to the management shakeup set to happen at the network.
So what are these old “new” products?
The home security solution (dubbed Smart Security in the press advert) is a GSM Fixed Wireless Security System that uses a base phone, NetOne SIM card and a collective of wireless home sensors (think motion ,smoke, water and gas) plus a recording camera and buzzer.
Working like any clued up 2015 home security system, it will send you a notification (via SMS and on the app) if there’s an intrusion or if your house is on fire. When I sought information from NetOne, I was told that I should prepare to part with something like $300 (sans the installation costs) for this system.
Product number 2, which is something more suited for businesses, is the traditional Fixed Wireless Terminal (FWT) that acts as a PABX system and uses multiple GSM lines for call centre functionality.
Sure, these aren’t innovative or new products. It doesn’t look like NetOne is playing that “groundbreaking and revolutionary” card either.
The two are meant to expand the revenue base of the mobile network by dipping into markets the mobile network can service, but won’t necessarily be the dominant force in. There are already other providers more in tune with security and office solutions anyway.
In an environment where the traditional revenue earner (voice calling) is under threat from changes in tech, anything that works and has a decent business case should probably be explored. It’s what Econet has been doing for the past year and half with products as far flung as car tracking solutions.
The success of each service, however, will depend on several factors. The brand value attached to the NetOne name might not be enough to get people to sign up for that security system after all.