For the better part of the past two days, EcoCash – which also happens to have the lion’s share of the mobile money market – has not been working as advertised. Some subscribers have not been able to transact or send money on the platform and some businesses have been brought to a halt because of the “technical challenges” being faced by the mobile money service.
Due to these troubles, some on Twitter have started calling out EcoCash and there has been a theory being spread:
Since the @Potraz_zw enforced reduction in USSD charges, it has become impossible to complete an @EcoCashZW transaction on one go. I have been trying since 1pm. Now am i being charged for those failed attempts? This is the latest response 👇 pic.twitter.com/cstoHCMhal
— Larry Moyo (@larry_moyo) July 3, 2018
This and other tweets seems to suggest that this outage is due to the fact that POTRAZ recently reduced transaction charges for accessing the USSD platform. I do not believe this is the case and it simply would not make sense for EcoCash to sabotage their own service.
Let’s address the POTRAZ changes
The shift in pricing with regards to USSD is not as significant as many had thought initially. So when the threshold is being said to have been reduced what does this mean. Well, Econet was charging banks a flat fee for customers to make banking transactions via their USSD platform. Econet are the only telco charging banks for access to their USSD and it is widely believed they were already charging 5c. What this means is that NOTHING has changed on that front for Econet. Yes, POTRAZ reduced the cap from 12.5c to 5c but the problem is no one was being charged 12.5c.
Econet will not be affected by this change and they have no reason to shut down their service to make a point.
Playing with fire
As mentioned in another article yesterday, EcoCash is one reason why many subscribers have not entirely stopped using Econet altogether. The One Fusion data offerings are quite popular and this popularity has meant that people have two SIM cards; one for EcoCash and one for the cheaper data (NetOne usually). It would make ZERO sense for EcoCash to rebel against the new charges by shutting down their system and risk people embracing OneMoney over their own platform.
That would be playing with fire and the backlash we have seen on social media shows that it would be too huge of a gamble to take just to prove a point. Whatever problems that EcoCash is facing are independent of POTRAZ’s ‘reduced’ transaction charges.
Teller: “Your ecocash isn’t responding, shall we try again?” pic.twitter.com/ebhho5IxSd
— tendai 👑 (@DIAVANTI_) July 3, 2018
EcoCash is a mobile money transfer facility which is run by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. The facility has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception and is arguably the largest mobile money transfer agent considering the huge sums of transactions that the platform is said... Read More About EcoCash
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe POTRAZ) is the regulatory authority of Zimbabwe's telecommunications sector and was established in terms of the country's Postal and Telecommunications Act Chapter 12:05. POTRAZ was established in February 2001 Read More About POTRAZ
OneMoney formerly known as OneWallet is a money transfer facility which is operated by a government telecoms company NetOne Zimbabwe. The facility runs on NetOne lines only and offers services such as Zimswitch-enabled debit card, money payments, mobile banking and airtime top-up. Read More About OneMoney