Over the past few weeks, EcoCash has been a frequent fixture in the news as they have loosened the entry requirements to join the most popular mobile money solution.
The move was unexpected and sudden but it also had me thinking about OneMoney and where they go from here. NetOne has been very quiet thus far and to me, it appears they might be taking EcoCash’s latest move lying down. This is a bit surprising considering the progress they had promised to make with OneMoney this year.
Originally NetOne had introduced their mobile money under the name OneWallet back in 2011 before EcoCash was a thing. OneWallet was a dismal failure that cost the government over $6million in losses and unfortunately, OneWallet was put to rest after failing to become a viable service in its own right.
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NetOne decided to rebrand and launch a new product: OneMoney. OneMoney was supposed to be a ‘new dispensation’ for NetOne as they promised a new revised mobile money service that would push back against EcoCash and reduce their dominance in the market.
As early as January of 2018 NetOne went on a recruiting spree and brought 1000 OneMoney agents to the streets of Zimbabwe in order to revitalise NetOne’s OneMoney mobile money solution. We did argue at the time whether this was a good idea because of the cash crisis but it seemed OneMoney was ready to go all out and raise awareness.
…but to what avail?
It’s now 2018 and unfortunately, OneMoney didn’t get to deliver on their promise to become the class-leading solutions and EcoCash is still maintaining their sizeable lead when it comes to subscribers.
EcoCash has also enabled NetOne users to register for EcoCash service. This move might deal the final blow to OneMoney as NetOne subscribers now have to. NetOne has not given their official standing when it comes to the recent developments and that makes this less of partnership and more just a move by Econet but at the end of the day, the impact to OneMoney might be catastrophic.
NetOne’s silence on the issue thus far is a bit alarming as I would think they would try to keep OneMoney relevant and in the news especially as EcoCash is expanding their service and welcoming all and sundry.
There is still hope, I guess
NetOne recently announced a new addition to their mobile money team, adding Nkosilathi Ncube as managing director for mobile money services. This recent appointment could mean they are forging forward with the resurrection of the OneMoney brand. It will be interesting to see where NetOne goes now. What steps do you think NetOne should take if they are to remain relevant in the mobile money field?
The government had also given an ultimatum for all the mobile network providers to adopt interoperability of their mobile financial services. The deadline for this is the 1st of April so we will be able to see a clearer picture of where the mobile money sector is headed.
What do you think NetOne will do going forward? Will they soldier on with OneMoney or will they let it meet the fate that has been seemingly on its way for a while now? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.