Eco-cash tariffs criticised
VALUE ADDED SERVICES| Oct. 4, 2011, 2:06 p.m.
By Alfonce Mbizwo, Harare, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s largest mobile network, Econet Wireless, has launched its mobile money transfer service called Eco-cash, joining the rush to tap into Zimbabwe’s unbanked market.
At an analyst briefing on Monday, officials said the company had deployed 500 agents throughout the country. They also announced partnerships with Zimpost, which has over 300 offices countrywide, TN Holdings, which has presence in major centres in the country, and also with 300 independent agents.
At the launch, Econet chief executive Douglas Mboweni said the company considers the unlocking of access to financial services to be a "serious need".
“The banking population in Zimbabwe is very low, with only 14 people in every 1 000 being banked.
“Zimbabwe’s mobile penetration rate is at 70%, yet with that, we only have 1.4% of the population being banked,” Mboweni said.
He said between 60% to 65% of people reside in rural areas in Zimbabwe and that figure would remain stable for the foreseeable future.
Eco-cash immediately came under fire for being too expensive compared to regional competitors.
Financial Express compared Econet’s service Safaricom of Kenya’s M-PESA:Where EcoCash will charge percentages of the money being transferred, M-PESA has fixed charges for transaction ranges.
To transfer US USD200 to an EcoCash subscriber, a subscriber will be charged US4. For the same transaction, an M-PESA subscriber will be charged US 30 cents.
To transfer USD200 to a non-EcoCash subscriber, a subscriber will be charged USD14. For the same transaction, an M-PESA subscriber will be charged US $1.80.
To withdraw USD200 cash, an EcoCash subscriber is charged USD6. An M-PESA subscriber is charged USD1.70 for the same transaction.
However, Econet’s mobile cash transfer transaction facility does not oblige a subscriber to open a bank account and the service is across various mobile networks.
State-owned NetOne already runs a similar service titled OneWallet while Telecel launched its own service called Skwama in partnership with a local financial institution, Kingdom Bank.
MORE VALUE ADDED SERVICES NEWS
Tigo upgrades Self-Care appWith its commitment to forefront technology and develop solutions to serve customers better, Tigo Ghana has upgraded its channels to provide customers with easy access to all of their communication needs on-the-go. Read More
Firm develops Tsaboin Traffic Talk to address city gridlockManagement of Nigeria’s biggest traffic monitoring site, Tsaboin Traffic Talk, has restated its commitment towards easing the challenge of traffic gridlock experienced by road users in Lagos State. Read More
Safaricom aims for 30% more Lipa Na M-PESA transactionsSafaricom has announced that it plans to increase usage of Lipa Na M-PESA by 30% throughout the financial year, as it steps up its plans to grow cashless transaction space. Read More
MTN launches e-Health service in CameroonA new MTN mobile health platform authorised by Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Health and exploited in partnership with the Cameroon National Medical Council is expected to improve access to health services in Cameroon. Read More
KCB signs deal with GoSwiff to embed its Cashlite agendaKCB in conjunction with GoSwiff - a global mobile commerce and marketing solutions provider- have unveiled a strategic deal to offer a new mobile payment facility targeting Kenyan merchants. Read More
Orange Money launches mobile crowdfundingOrange is launching Africa's first mobile crowdfunding platform in Côte d'Ivoire: Orange Collecte. Read More
MTN zero-rates FrontRow data usageMTN subscribers are in for an entertainment treat following the announcement by MTN that it has zero rated the data usage for streaming content on FrontRow. Read More
Orange postpaid customers to pay bills onlineOrange Telkom Kenya post paid subscribers are now able to pay their monthly bills online. Read More
TransUnion launches Nipashe credit checking solution for KenyaTransUnion has launched an innovative new SMS short code solution that enables consumers in Kenya to easily access their credit information. Read More
FEATURED STORYInnovative designer takes e-waste to another level
Gladys Muyenzelwa is a Gaborone based artist and designer who has an eye for ethnic and contemporary design. But unlike other designers, Muyenzelwa has found a way of using e-waste to make her creations.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHHigh tech homes: Just press play
High tech, digital homes where everything is automated and connected aren’t the stuff of science fiction any longer, says BNC Technology.