Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Zim Mobile Network Wars

Top1 Telecel has been approaching Ecocash merchants to turn them to double agents offering both Ecocash and Telecash . Econet Wireless is rumored to have taken countermeasures of coercing exclusivity agreements with intentions of circumscribing Telecel's access to their agents.
Telecel seems to have Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) support as  RBZ is rumored be considering banning mobile money agents from entering into exclusive agreements with individual mobile cash payment system operators.

 Econet need to tread carefully with the ongoing Competitions and Tariffs Commission (CTC) probe. CTC  wants to establish whether Econet has any case to answer and whether it has flouted competition rules in its interactions with banks and suppliers.

Banks have been up in arms with Econet, inculpating it of not giving them neutral access to its subscribers, whilst Telecel has been working in arm's length with ZimSwitch as they have recently introduced a Telecel Debit card, with rumours of Visa/Mastercard support in the pipeline. Econet Wireless, will launch an electronic commerce platform before year-end. Econet recently became an exclusive iPhone dealer with the finalized Apple products distribution deal. Apple mobile devices record the highest web usage , Econet has now set its sights on data and other overlay services.

With mobile financial transactions up by 5%,  the Telecel debit card is response consultation with retailers, bankers and ZimSwitch in order to broaden financial inclusion. This was just after Telecel announced it had begun a fibre deployment project which will see the company laying its own optical fibre cable to avail more high capacity data provisioning for the network nationwide.

chatterboxNot to be left out in ongoing network wars, NetOne has reinvented the old “callbox”, with the introduction Chatter Box which is a wired fixed position device which looks similar to the old call boxes but works exactly like a cellphone. To use you require your sim-card, slot it in and you are good to go. Having proven to launch new products like OneWallet, I doubt other competitors will launch similar offerings to the Chatter Box. Could this be one what NetoOne CEO meant when he said arguing that the State Procurement Board had made them procure “useless” equipment.

Even with with new developments and improvements Telecel continues to lose market share. Econet has soared past 9 million subscriber. Telecel registered a significant decline of 4.6% in their subscriber base. This means that state-owned NetOne is also creeping up slowly to potentially overtake Telecel. NetOne grew its subscriber base by 1%.