Lazarus Muchenje -NetOne’s CEO- recently sat down with Trevor Ncube and gave a pretty insightful interview touching on many aspects of telecommunications, and mobile money.
Speaking of mobile money the CEO said he felt that none of the competitors in the market was offering a world-class service as of yet;
We choose not to compete with the competition. We choose to compete with ourselves and to try and be world class because we don’t believe that at this stage there is anyone who is world class in this market as far as mobile payments are concerned, and I say that with a lot of respect.
Lazarus Muchenje – NetOne CEO
Mr Muchenje’s remarks sound less like a dig at the other players as he did acknowledge that right now NetOne is a distant second in the mobile money market.
What’s the plan to turn that around? Well, Lazarus believes that a world-class service has 3 pillars;
- A seamless service
- An affordable service
- A service that allows them to do more than one thing
No one is offering a seamless service; the dominant player in the market EcoCash has crippling outages that all but put businesses on pause from time to time whilst the other competitors aren’t offering a service that’s as ubiquitous as EcoCash. Affordability is also a crippling factor when it comes to EcoCash – with charges so prohibitive + the IMT tax which results in some consumers preferring to use cash.
Whilst I agree with the CEO on all 3 pillars I don’t agree with his belief that mobile money is predominantly being used for Peer to Peer (P2P) transactions locally. He says;
In this country, what you can do with mobile money is currently constrained with your payments. The proliferation of the products and services that one can use is still not there. 90% of that [mobile money use] is P2P and buying airtime.Lazarus Muchenje
I don’t agree with this. Every day people are buying goods and services in stores and online and they are using mobile money. Those are not P2P transactions but they are really commonplace.
How does NetOne think it will take to become world-class?
After admitting that they’re not world-class yet, Lazarus Muchenje said the company has set itself a 24-month timeline to become world-class and lead the market:
Within the next 12 months our vision is to take significant market share -I’m not allowed to say how much- and to be leading within the next two years.Lazarus Muchenje
Pretty lofty goals, but as always competition is great and if NetOne can deliver on these targets the consumers get to benefit.