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Powertel launches payment service known as Dial-a-Payment

Powertel one of Zimbabwe’s Internet Access Providers (IAP) has launched a payment service known as Dial-A-Payment. You remember Powertel don’t you? They used to be leading mobile internet service providers until they found ruin in a case of corporate greed when they switched from monthly based packages to bundles. I wrote their epitaph back then. They have sort of persevered in the background and Dial-a-Payment is their latest shot.

I have to say right out of the gate when I heard about Dial-a-Payment I was quite excited-that excitement evaporated quickly as I read about the product. Words like baffled, perplexed and mystified come to mind. The service is eccentric, to say the least. Here is how it works according to Powertel:

  1. Call in to any of our retail outlets any day, Monday-Friday from 08:00-16:30 hours excluding holidays
  2. Confirm the service or package you require
  3. Receive a prompt on your phone to pay via Ecocash
  4. Enter your MPin and Pay
  5. Receive Payment confirmation. Receipt or Electricity Toke.

Powertel goes on to list the numbers to call. You can see them above. I told you this was an eccentric solution. You and I are supposed to use this service to pay our bills, top-up our internet, data, voice and buy electricity tokens. It’s not clear what bills you can pay but I am really struggling to be polite here but in what world is this a great solution? I am struggling to see the use cases here. Maybe I am just stupid.

Why is this better than what we already have

I am not going to compare this to our own offering, Techzim Market. That would be unfair. Let us imagine you are a Powertel customer who doesn’t already know about Techzim Market. Do you really need this? The answer from me is a resounding no.

You can pay a lot of bills using Ecocash, you can already buy a ZESA token via Ecocash why bother to call someone and ask them to initiate the transaction for you? That’s highly insecure. All you have to do as a scammer is trick people to call you pretending you are Powertel and make them pay-literary.

You can also pay Powertel internet, buy their data and voice bundles using Ecocash. You can do this any time of the day. This is an existing Powertel system by the way. You can use it during holidays and whenever you feel like it. So again why on earth would you call someone?

Did Powertel forget they are an IAP?

Remember what I said in the opening paragraph, Powertel is an IAP. They have Fibre in addition to mobile bandwith. They were one of the first players in the industry. A WhatsApp based bill payment system would have been awesome and they do have the resources to pull this off.

I may be wrong and this service is going to explode and become a thing but I stand by my judgement-this service will need a rethink and can do with some improvements. I am being very polite here. If I wasn’t well-raised I would call this a dud.

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6 thoughts on “Powertel launches payment service known as Dial-a-Payment

  1. I use powertel and the ecocash payment system has been down for some time now so have had to go to powertel to top up my data, maybe that’s why they launced the dial-a-payment service, though l agree, its not a great solution. Just fixing the ecocash payment system would be better.

  2. Garikai I have to call you out I think you naturally have a bone to chew with Powertel and are being rather harsh in your opinion, your article in my view is clearly not just about their service, dial a payment, but is also about how you regard Powertel in general, and as such your bias played in your analysis. Just last week I needed to buy electricity, and Powertel saved my day. I went to OK there was a long queue which was moving like a snail in slow motion, the Ecocash you are talking about was completely out it couldn’t process token purchases, I was stuck. I WhatsApped a friend of mine who then told me to try powertel, I rushed there, guess what there wasn’t even a queue! Only two ladies being served when it was my turn I got served and I walked out with the token slip for electricity in hand. If I had known this dial a payment service I would have utilized it right away, which would have saved me time going to their office. Just because ecocash offers similar services doesn’t mean that no one else should, it’s a akin to someone saying “What problem is Proton bread solving because we already have Bakers inn in the market , we don’t really need Proton.🤷. Gari It’s good to have options. Elderly people I’ve noticed have no trouble entering the pin but they do struggles in understanding to follow the long steps on Ecocash, they are rather very slow, so dial a payment comes in handy for them because all they have to do is just enter
    the pin and it’s done. Powertell are not necessarily inventing a wheel here, there are just creating a spare and that is a good thing.Well done Powertel for availing to us another way.👍👍👍

    1. I hear you. Thanks for providing some insight. It’s just that personally I was struggling to find the need for the service but as you put it there are clearly some use cases even though they are what I would call fringe cases. It’s not that I do not like Powertel, they were the first company to allow me to have my own internet connection and they really changed my life. Its just that I think they have more potential they are not utilising. They need to get on that WhatsApp bot ASAP. As a parastatal they have have some much they can offer. They can even be the arm of government that finally give us the e-services dream.

    2. Alternative payment options are very welcome, but this is a poor implementation. Their service is more useful as an online offering, there’s really no good reason why calling in would be better. It’s less secure and prone to communication errors. If the online system is down, technically so would the call in or walk in system. You also queue on a call in or walk in system, unlike an online transaction.

      Your reasoning that in an emergency an archaic solution was helpful, does not mean that such services should proliferate or gain momentum. Even a donkey drawn cart can save your life, in an emergency, but we prefer and promote equipped ambulances because the superior technology is there.

  3. My only suggestion is perhaps if they can offer this service as a 24hr service then certainly l can see the use case especially for older people or as alluded to, when ecocash is down.

    1. That’s a valid point. Having this only available during normal working hours is kind of a drag.

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