Telecel and NetOne users are now welcome to join the greener pastures of EcoCash. On second thought I think it would be fair to make the proclamation that EcoCash is now basically a bank. A digital banking platform if you want to be more specific.
Your mobile number is now basically an EcoCash account number
The EcoCash registration process is no longer dependant on what mobile network you use. Basically, EcoCash is treating mobile numbers as bank accounts. Your phone number is now more like an account number because of the fact that any mobile subscriber can access the platform. It no longer matters if you are on Econet, NetOne or Telecel which effectively means EcoCash is no longer Econet’s mobile money platform but more a Zimbabwean platform.
Telecash and OneMoney out of the game
EcoCash’s move to open the doors to NetOne & Telecel subscribers essentially rules Telecash and OneMoney out of the mobile money game. EcoCash already had about 98% of the mobile money user base and this move means if you’re on OneMoney and Telecash there is no reason to stay on those platforms. In fact, I’ll go as far as saying staying on these two would actually be an inconvenience.
Picture this scenario: You use OneMoney or Telecash exclusively and you want to send money to a friend or relative in an emergency. You then realise they use EcoCash and thus are not in a position to send them money because they have to then go to an agent, which is not practical during an emergency.The move by EcoCash to incorporate the two other MNO’S means the likelihood of this happening is effectively erased. You can use your Telecel/NetOne line and still enjoy the fruits of EcoCash when you need it.
The only hiccup for now is that if you are on NetOne/Telecel you can only use EcoCash via the app. This means it’s exclusively available to smartphone users and those with mbudzi’s(basic phone) you are out of luck. It will be interesting to see if and how Econet fixes that.
EcoCash divorced from Econet the MNO
EcoCash is also becoming independent from Econet with this move. Yes, they are still a subsidiary of Econet but this move means their brand becomes less aligned solely with Econet and more with mobile money in Zimbabwe. In a few years time if EcoCash is still open to other networks the Econet relationship will be less transparent because all Zimbabwean mobile phone users will be able to subscribe even if they are on other networks.
The Econet-EcoCash relationship will no longer be a conversation when signing up for the service. Think of it this way, all along for you to sign up for EcoCash you HAD to be on Econet. In maybe 7 year’s time though, you will just walk into an Econet shop and sign up without even considering what network you are subscribed to.
Your phone number is essentially equal to any other random but unique 10 digit number which serves as your bank account. It doesn’t matter whether or not you receive calls through this number or you don’t.
The move by EcoCash may be more significant than we think. Econet is seriously spreading its wings here and to think of it as just a mobile money platform no longer does it justice. EcoCash has transcended mobile money and is now more akin to a banking platform than an exclusive mobile money solution.