The battle for dominance on mobile money platforms is increasingly getting exciting with Netone announcing that its mobile money platform, OneMoney clocked 1 million subscribers. this means that for every 4 subscribers of Netone 1 subscriber has a OneMoney account.
Mobile money transactions are proving to be integral in Zimbabwe’s financial system, with these transactions making up more than 80% of the electronic transactions. And it goes without saying that Zimbabwe’s biggest Mobile Network Operator, Econet dominates the money transactions.
OneMoney was introduced last year in October as a rebranded version of the unsuccessful OneMoney. Netone has been engaged in massive advertising campaigns to push the uptake of OneMoney with promotions such as introducing the OneMoney debit card and the OneMoney school fees promotion. New Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Lazarus Muchenje said;
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We started seven months ago and already we have one million subscribers
His statement is a bit misleading though because one might easily think that the one million subscribers came after OneWallet was introduced. In fact, the one million subscribers include customers of the discontinued OneWallet (OneWallet operated for 6 years) and not solely of OneMoney which is 7 months in running.
Despite this, mobile money platforms subscriber figures have been a moot point because Mobile Network Operators disclose these figures arbitrarily hence some (Econet) have been accused of inflating their mobile money subscriber numbers.
The increase of OneMoney users can be seen as good news because Ecocash’s dominance has been worrying. The concern stems from speculating that if Ecocash’s platform goes down it has a systematic risk.
Should Ecocash/Econet shiver at the rise of OneMoney subscribers?
The rise of OneMoney subscribers only shouldn’t send chills down Ecocash’s spine. Ecocash could only feel unsettled if OneMoney agencies start to grow because agencies are the ones that push the use of a certain mobile money platform since they (agencies) get commission by doing so. More so the increase of OneMoney agencies coupled with the increase of mobile subscribers will surely unsettle Ecocash.
Why did Netone choose to say this now?
The timing of disclosing OneMoney subscribers is somewhat curious considering that Ecocash is embroiled in a fight with its agencies as some accounts of Ecocash agencies were barred earlier this week. Is Netone trying to lure Ecocash’s disgruntled agencies by disclosing the number of OneMoney subscribers? Becuase if agents know that OneMoney is gaining new customers, they might migrate there.