Telecel and ZimSwitch today (Thursday) announced that they had teamed up to enable banks to offer their customers an affordable and easy-to-use mobile banking facility that could change the face of banking in Zimbabwe.
The Apple founder, Steve jobs, has died. He was 56. Jobs defined a lot of aspects in the computing we know today. Under his leadership Apple took the game to a whole different level. That's true for PCs, music devices, smartphones, tablets and the animation industry.
We’re just from the first day of ICT Africa 2011. The first day is dedicated to business and invited guests, though really no one is prevented from attending. We spent most of the day going around the stands and speaking to people about the stuff their tech companies are doing.
The Daily News website is down. Again. Why they pulled it down is anyone’s guess right now. SW Radio Africa reported yesterday that the editor of the paper, Stanley Gama, had told them the website had been restored online yesterday after a month of downtime. The reason for the downtime given by the editor is that they are “making further developments and modernising in line with modern websites around the world”.
One of the main highlights of last year’s ICT Africa was the launch of Africom mobile broadband services. The service launched with a one month free bandwidth offer. Before Africom’s product came along, mobile broadband in Zimbabwe was only offered by Econet, PowerTel and TelOne. None of the three incumbents offered reliable connectivity so the Africom’s entry was much welcomed.
We got notified today by Econet that they will be providing free Wi-Fi internet at this year’s ICT Africa. The free Wi-Fi will be available to everyone at the venue for the entire duration of the exhibition. And it is unlimited! This is set to attract a lot of visitors to the exhibition; Internet connectivity is pretty expensive in Zimbabwe.
A few weeks ago we learnt that some local ISPs were considering not exhibiting at ICT Africa 2011 after finding out that Econet Wireless had snapped up 23 stands for the event, thereby dwarfing every other exhibitor by an epic scale. Things like this happen and are not surprising. However I was very disappointed by yesterday’s supplement featuring companies that are exhibiting at the event.
Barely a day after we posted that the NewsDay was down, we got notified on Twitter that HMetro (www.hmetrozim.com) was suffering a similar problem. The website has been hijacked by hackers. Here’s what you see if you open the H-Metro website right now:
Later this week, this year’s ICT Africa exhibition and conference will take place. It’ll run from the 5th to the 7th of October. It’s Zimbabwe’s ICT industry flagship event, organized by the Computer Suppliers Association of Zimbabwe (COMSA). This year however (and last year as well actually) there’s great involvement by the Ministry of ICT in organizing the event.
Soon after we posted that Alpha Media’s Newsday website was down this morning, a friend notified us there was something wrong with our website. We checked and sure enough all the articles were gone. No story at all, like it’s a new blog.
On Friday last week, Econet launched EcoCash, a mobile money service that so far looks like a game changer. On the local market at least. The concept is a tried and tested one. M-PESA has worked phenomenally well in Kenya, and Econet has read the M-PESA story cover to cover. In fact it is its similarity to M-PESA that gives Econet the game changing potential it has with EcoCash.
We received a tip this morning that the NewsDay website, www.newsday.co.zw, may have been hacked. Web browsers currently report that malware (malicious software) has been detected on the site and that visitors are at risk of malware infection if they open the website.
Last night, we attended the official launch for Econet’s EcoCash mobile money service. Even though the event started some 40 minutes late, there was a series of polished presentations, the highlight being the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank Governor’s participation as guest of honour.
Last week, we posted that ZimSwitch was launching a mobile banking service called ZimSwitch Mobile and that it would start rolling out the service to banks before the end of September, with more banks following. Immediately after we posted that article, a reader sent us a tip that the service was already live at CABS.
We’ve just received a press release from Econet PR announcing the launch of EcoCash, the mobile banking service. The release doesn’t disclose much about how the service will work. Just a bit more than what we found out yesterday; that a subscriber will not need a bank account and that the service is mobile network neutral. New information in the release is that Econet has signed up some 500 EcoCash agents across the country, and that Zimpost,
Econet is launching Eco-Cash, its mobile money service, tomorrow. The launch will be held at the Rainbow Towers hotel in Harare. Econet unveiled earlier this month its plan to launch the service before the end of September. We have received some bits of information on what Eco-Cash will be.
We attended a Computer Suppliers Association of Zimbabwe (COMSA) organized breakfast meeting in the morning today where the Zimbabwe ICT Minister, Nelson Chamisa, spoke to the COMSA members on some projects that his ministry is working on.
Not too long ago, we had a meeting with Nzwisisa Chidembo of Itllusion to know more about his start-up. The start-up is a mobile Value Added Services provider that has divided its offering as follows:
Umuntu Media, an online content provider based in South Africa recently raised $1 million series A funding from Netherlands based E Ventures Africa Fund (EVA). It launched iZambia.co.zm in January, followed this up with iNambia.co.na earlier this year and also plans to roll out similar portals for Angola. Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe very soon.
On 1 August 2011, a startup called ZimCarSales launched a new online car marketplace. It's available on www.zimcarsales.co.zw. You’ve probably come across it in adverts in the press and some motoring events the startup is already sponsoring locally. We had a chat with the startup’s managing director, Nyasha Makuyana, last week and discussed what they have achieved so far and where they’re taking this.
When we spoke to the Zimbabwe Internet Service Providers Association (ZISPA) chairman Troy Prinsloo some several weeks ago for the domain registration article, he mentioned that last year Google approached ZISPA with a proposal to have a Google Global Cache (GGC) in Zimbabwe. ZISPA’s response to Google, he said, was ‘no thank you’.
Following our story earlier today on the coming launch of ZimSwitch Mobile later this month, a reader sent us a picture they took of a mobile banking advert by CABS in their Sam Levy's Village branch in Borrowdale, Harare.
World of Avatar (WOA) has just acquired 90% of the legendary South African mobile social network and chat application, MXit. According to Memeburn the deal is valued at a reputed R500m(USD $71 million) and also involves Craig Knott Jnr taking over as CEO of MXit.
This week, we received communication from ZimSwitch that the ZimSwitch Mobile platform will be rolling out to the first wave of ‘ZimSwitch Ready’ banks this month and that more banks will follow “hot on their trails”.
In January, NetOne announced the launch of the OneWallet mobile money service to stakeholders. This was followed two months later with the announcement that Gemalto, an international digital security company, was deploying a mobile money transfer solution for the OneWallet service.
According to a report released by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) last week, Zimbabwe has the most expensive mobile cellular tariffs in relative terms. Only Malawi and Niger have higher mobile tariffs. Mobile cellular tariffs are measured by the ITU in 165 economies and contribute as a sub-basket to the overall ICT Price Basket of an economy. The data used in the report was collected in 2010. You can download the report here.