Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates



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Interview: Cellulant’s drive into the B2C mobile VAS space

Last week, Cellulant launched a USSD service allowing Zimbabweans to buy electricity tokens, ADSL internet and in future other bills from their phones by just dialing *365#. We had the opportunity to discuss the company’s new drive – both the local and as a continental company – to expand into the B2C market. The company has up to now […]

Here’s Econet new job search service… moving on, 50 cents poorer

Remember the USSD & SMS mobile jobs services that local mobile operators have suddenly realised they could offer too. Pressured by the revenue decline caused by the government (new taxes), the government (new regulation), the government (ill economy) and those evil Over The Top apps (WhatsApp), mobile operators have entered panic mode and are picking up […]

EcoLife relaunches as EcoSure. The new model

About a month ago, we got information and published that Econet wad preparing to re-launch what used to be (a nightmare) called EcoLife. Today, that product is being officially launched in Harare, but under a different name – EcoSure. This is one product that has taken Econet a long time to deliver both because of the […]

VAS entrepreneur who accused Telecel of stealing his idea, loses case

Remember the court case of the VAS entrepreneur that accused Telecel of stealing his idea back in 2012? Well, it’s come to the fore again, but this time with a ruling. Yes, it has taken this long to get a ruling, so do keep that in mind and plan for it when you decide to sue […]

Hooked on promos

Readers may be familiar with an induction principle used by drug cartels. New drug lords wanting to penetrate the market would kidnap teenagers and force drugs on them and release them. This was done several times up to a point at which the kids became addicted. The teenagers are released eventually but drugs still made […]

Man in the mirror: What Econet can learn from being excluded by ZESA

Econet is unhappy about being excluded by ZESA from selling prepaid electricity tokens via the EcoCash mobile money platform. It doesn’t make sense to them how the government won’t let them provide convenience the market needs. The issue has come up in more than half of the conversations I’ve had with Econet executives these past 3 or so months. It’s […]

I deserve money for my idea: The folly of developers

An advent enthusiast in mobile financial services I was more than eager to hear developers and VAS innovators alike fire away at Econet (Ecocash) for their “reluctance” to open up their network to applications and VAS at the recent Broadband Forum. Not surprisingly was Econet’s calculated responses since they have had to answer to accusations […]

Zim’s VAS & App Ecosystem in the Mobile Broadband Era #ZimBroadband

Many of you have been requesting that we post the presentations from Broadband Forum 2014 here, so here you are. We will post each one separately so they are easily findable after they are buried from our home page. In the next couple of days we will also be posting the videos so it makes […]

EcoCashLoans – Game changer? Opportunity or Threat? For who?

With the launch today of EcoCash Loans, following in quick succession from EcoCashSave accounts, Econet wireless has yet again read from the M-Pesa script to be the dominant financial services provider in Zimbabwe. EcoCash is a bank, with the largest number of customers at 3.5M registered users. Having shaken up the financial services market with […]

New Voice SMS for Zimbabwean Telecoms?

So news gathered from a regional tech website  has it that a VAS offering, Voice SMS, is set to hit the local market before the end of the year through a yet to be identified service provider (or providers). This was mentioned by a representative from Kirusa, a global player in VAS and Mobile Social Media. […]

Econet wins Ecolife war again… hints at life insurance comeback

So we all thought the Econet vs Trustco war over Ecolife was done. Econet had won the final battle in the Zim Supreme Court and they were set to look at new opportunities in the life insurance for minimum monthly service credit spend. Nay. Apparently the war scaled up to international arbitration where, we’re guessing, Trustco […]

Dear people, why are we still complaining about EcoLife?

So, everytime we post an article about a new Econet value added service, it’s followed complaints from some readers who apparently feel cheated that Econet ended the EcoLife service. Some even go to the extreme of complaining that Econet owes them Ecolife money. Take yesterday for example when we posted the Econet to provide loans via EcoCash story. […]

Telecel announces 911 Road Assist VAS. What problem does it solve?

Telecel has introduced a new emergency response facility, which it has called 911 Road Assist.  Subscribers can use the facility to summon assistance in the event of a vehicle breakdown, a road accident or any other on-the-road emergency. In the event of a road emergency, subscribers to 911 Road Assist can dial *160# and the […]

VAS entrepreneur takes Telecel to court over Mega Promo

The local mobile VAS company which, last month threatened to sue Telecel over what it said was stolen VAS concept, has just done so. A report in the Herald today says Mobile Connexion has filed a lawsuit in the High Court against Telecel. The lawsuit is an escalation of the matter by Mobile Connexion after Telecel refused […]

Comment: Of stolen concepts & VAS

Yesterday’s “they stole our idea” issue is a story we hear often here at Techzim. Reading from what has been made publicly available by both parties so far, how this will progress and end is almost predictable. Telecel will say no to the US $340,000 settlement demand. In fact, they’d be silly to say yes. […]

VAS entrepreneur explains why he says Telecel stole concept

We have been contacted by Peterson Tengende, who is the VAS entrepreneur accusing Telecel Zimbabwe of stealing his quiz VAS concept. His company, together with another one called Jet Telecom, are demanding that Telecel pay them $340,000 as settlement for implementing the quiz VAS concept without them. In his email to us, Tengende details what […]

Econet joins lotto-like value added service race

Just under two weeks after Telecel announced its question & answer vas promo, Econet has followed with its own. The Econet announcement was made on the company’s Facebook page on Monday this week but we’re told it was launched on 19 September. The competition is similar to Telecel’s; basically a subscriber opts into the service and […]

Telecel introduces SMS based question answering promo

Telecel, the second largest mobile operator in Zimbabwe, announced today the introduction of a question answering value added service promotion that will see its subscribers win prizes every day for answering questions correctly. The promotion will run for 3 months. Telecel subscribers who opt into the promotion will receive a series of questions (with answer […]

Pop Technologies confident Teletunes VAS will transform music industry

The tech company behind Telecel’s recently launched Teletunes value added service, Pop Technologies, says it is confident that the service will significantly change the fortunes of Zimbabwean artists, effectively transform Zimbabwe’s music industry. Pop services expressed the assurance in communication to us in response to some questions we sent them.

MATHs startup, Gikko, launches mobile content services with Telecel

We just received a press release from Gikko, the till roll ads and bulk sms startup that we last wrote about in September last year. The release announces the launch of local mobile content services on the Telecel Zimbabwe network.

The need for a self-regulating mobile VAS providers body

There’s a growing appetite for mobile value added services (VAS) in the market. This is true for mobile network operators, developers and the mobile subscribers.

Developers and entrepreneurs are seeing the opportunities that Zimbabwe’s (and that of African countries in the region) rising mobile penetration avails. Subscribers too are starting to use mobile phones in ways they did not before. The gadget has evolved into much more than just a device to make voice calls and send text messages. There’s internet, music, TV, file transfer, games, and most recently money transfer.

Matamba Anonaka, Zimbabwe’s tech focused venture capital firm

We’ve been pointed to the existence of a tech focused venture capital firm in Zimbabwe. We’re delighted. This is the kind of development Zim’s tech startups need; the possibility of their ideas and skills getting some financial support. I know a lot of people that have been praying for this.

Econet posts mega profits, grows subscribers base to 5.5 million

Econet has just released its financial results for the full year to February 2011. It’s another mega profits year for Zimbabwe’s largest telecoms firm; profits after tax for the period stand at US$140.9 million this year, up 24% from last year’s results.

Mobile Value Added Services on a steady increase locally

There’s a growing reappearance of value added services (VAS) on the local mobile networks. Entrepreneurs are seeing this and you can see the increasing number of adverts in the local press like the current itllusion mobiplay one which reads: