Author: Victor Mukandatsama
funeral.ly is a Zimbabwean online event management platform that allows one to manage a funeral it was recently launched online. It capitalises on the internet to provide a centralized method for disseminating information and coordinating funerals among family members, friends and colleagues
With numerous codes for topup, VAS, Billers, Merchants and so on, wouldn’t it make sense for operators to create some form of directory service? The same directory can be used by subscribers to find a particular services at any point in time instead of continuously receiving unsolicited advertising messages.
Now that the internet is available, there is need for startups to understand how the opportunities that come with it can be exploited successfully into profitable businesses. The Broadband Forum will provide a platform for aspiring startups to learn from testimonials of successes like Mark Essien’s Hotels.ng in tourism and Emma Kay bringing bozzi.mobi online.
Recently, Techzim interviewed Telecel Zimbabwe CEO, Angeline Vere. In the interview, she highlighted some aspects of Telecel’s plans for the short to medium term, as well as some aspects relating to the investment from its current owners.
Nettcash, the mobile money service, is set to launch a new product that will enhance its list of services and improve its current platform. We are not sure what the new product is, but there are some aspects of its current offering that it should consider improving on.
The Mobile Money and Digital Payments Conference, an awards ceremony that seeks to recognise and honour outstanding performance and innovation in mobile money and digital payments will be held on the 27th of July in Harare
It could be mere coincidence that as Econet introduces a content account disrupting the Zimpapers mobile news service, a new USSD based news platform is launched. However, some would speculate that Econet in fact benefited from the confusion by bringing in their own, or a new player in the SMS News VAS.
With all this talk on infrastructure sharing, we also need to consider the government’s viewpoint and possibly understand why it feels so strongly towards it. The government is obliged to ensure that consumers receive fair pricing for goods and services while it also protects the businesses in telecoms. These are the motivations behind this move on shared infrastructure.
Operators would rather “go it alone” than share infrastructure despite the fact that there is an opportunity for cost savings of up to 40%. To the consumer it makes absolutely no sense that they should have to pay higher tariffs for a service when there is a clearly a better way for all stakeholders to benefit.
Whether true or false that Telecel has tabled offers to its staff for payment of 20% of salaries in kind, this is an opportunity for the shareholders to shed some equity over to staff through a share ownership trust, a move that not only resolves partially or in toto the share structure dilemma but goes a more critical route to lobby for employee motivation and as an incentive for staff buy-in to the overall vision of the company going forward.
Telecash may have faced a seasonal drawback in the Telecel versus government tiff early this year but they look set to grow stronger with the right formula. Recording 1 million subscribers from launch last year in January, they can easily reach the same user ratios as Ecocash.
Econet has reintroduced its Buddie Zone promotion, which offers discounts of up to 90% for on-net voice calls. At first glance, this looks like Econet’s way of adding value to voice calls for subscribers. However, the fact that it is coming after another operator, Telecel introduced free calls after midnight, gives the impression that this is a response aimed at maintaining subscriber loyalty.
I had a revealing experience recently while shopping in Harare at Ximex Mall for a smartphone. A Samsung Galaxy S4 went from $250 to $400 simply because of a used box and accessories.
Smartphone penetration is very low in Zimbabwe trailing far behind other nations like South Africa at 30% and Kenya at 67%. But who should be responsible for equipping the nation with these devices?
The smartphone penetration rate in Zimbabwe is approximately 15% which actually means that about 85% of all mobile communication in Zimbabwe is largely through dumb phones (mbudzi) and feature phones. These are some humbling statistics in terms of what it actually means for developments in broadband.
Telecel has again launched a reward based Night Chat and 073-4-Free Weekend promotions hot on the heels of the Super Voice Bundles. The Night Chat promo offers its subscribers unlimited calls during the night and the 073-4-Free Weekend rewards customers for $4 airtime purchases during the week by unlimited calls Saturday night to Sunday midnight.
Telone Center for Learning in conjunction with Potraz will hold a Southern Africa (SADC) Telecommunications Symposium on the 9th to 11th which will focus on Infrastructure Sharing. The event is an exclusive meetup of top level management responsible for or involved in network infrastructure negotiations and policies.
Telecel is en route to getting back in the game with its latest Super Voice Bundles offering which avails 50 and 200 voice minutes from a $1 and $2 airtime purchase respectively.
In an interesting development Telecel has issued a statement assuring subscribers and stakeholders that they have met the June installment for the Licence Renewal Agreement with Government. This installment is part of the money that will go towards a 7 year plan to satisfy the $137,5 million required for a Mobile Network Operator’s licence.
The introduction of the dual account setup by Econet was a huge advantage on the part of the subscriber in terms of conserving data but it may yet turn out to be an inconvenience for Econet, VAS providers and some subscribers who are critical about their VAS services.
Zimpapers CEO Pikirayi Dekete reports in an Zimpapers AGM sideline interview that digital content is generating 3% of their annual revenue and they have at least 300,000 subscribers on their SMS and MMS mobile news and classifieds platforms.
Mobile and home Internet in the future is going to be accessed mostly through WiFi and IAPs will provide free last mile connectivity, or close to it. WiFi will be available everywhere resulting in the decline of Mobile Data consumption and Voice calls.
So apparently the Highlanders goal was erroneously or inaccurately disallowed. Replays will actually show that Edmore Muzanenhamo was actually onside. This brings into context the argument of whether or not Goal Line Technology should be introduced into soccer refereeing.
As it turns out SMS and Telemarketing messages from network operators are not spam legally and both the Consumer Contract and Telecoms Acts seem to agree that unless you are willing to go some extra legal expense and prove otherwise, For every subscriber, opting is the only option.
Econet Wireless Global’s CEO Craig Fitzgerald is reported to have stepped down from his position at the helm of the multinational concern. While most of the focus has always been on Econet’s founder, here is a look at some of the work Fitzgerald was responsible during his tenure.
Contrary to our believe that there is no game development in Zimbabwe, it is refreshing to note that game developer Saintoon Studios has not only developed several game apps but one of them has achieved Apple store Southern Africa Featured App status. Here is a short profile of Saintoon Studios.
The startup ecosystem is composed of stakeholders that include players such as business, government, community and so forth. From the startups events in Zimbabwe, the government is conspicuous by their absence from and not playing a participatory role in developing the startup culture.
Econet has adjusted its Bundles of Joy package and reverted back to a $1 for 10 minutes offering. This is a welcome development even though it seems like Econet is trying to curry favour with subscribers after doubling social media bundles and experiencing a slip in revenues.
The Zimbabwe Independent website was attacked and penetrated by hackers earlier this week. Though this is hardly something new for local publisher websites, this attack was the first in quite a while. According to the team at the Independent, the newspaper has been back online and precautions have been taken to guard against something like this.
Econet has been awarding free airtime and an apology for inconveniences resulting from a challenge with their billing system. If this is true, this is the second time their system has been the cause for concern.