Ecocash dominance unsettles government

Ecocash dominance unsettles government
Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Postal and Courier Services, Supa Mandiwanzira

Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Postal and Courier Services, Supa Mandiwanzira

By Nyasha Chingono

INFORMATION Communication Technology Minister Supa Mandiwanzira has expressed disquiet over Econet Wireless’ dominance of the country’s mobile money payments system saying this exposed the country to risk, should the largest telecommunications firm’s systems fail.
Mobile payments have grown in importance since banknote shortages intensified in the first quarter of 2016.
Econet, the largest of the three mobile network operators in the country, has a huge share of the mobile payment market through its Ecocash platform, which processed $7,1 billion transactions between March 2016 and February 2017.
Mobile phone-based platforms give subscribers the ability to send and receive money, pay bills and settle transactions, among other transactions.
Apart from providing convenience in a country battling a shortage of physical cash, mobile payment systems also help raise levels of financial inclusion.
Ecocash’s rivals have a combined market share of less than two percent in the mobile payments segment.
“Ninety percent of the transactions are being controlled by one mobile network. That is a disaster,” Mandiwanzira said at a mobile payments conference held in Harare last week.
“It may be a commercial success but it’s a disaster if we look at it from a public sector point of view. What happens if that system fails at a critical moment? That means we have disrupted the entire nation because we have relied on one supplier,” he said.
He said government, which recently took over a 60 percent stake in Telecel Zimbabwe, would increase its stake in the mobile telecommunications firm to allow the company to aggressively push its own mobile money payment platform, Telecash, in order to break Ecocash’s stranglehold.
He acknowledged Telecash had failed to make a mark in the mobile money space.
Government wholly-owns another mobile telecommunications operator NetOne, whose own mobile payment service is also struggling to gain a foothold in the market.
Mandiwanzira said government had empowered the Postal, Telecommunications, Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) to punish mobile network providers who over charge for mobile payments.
“We almost have a monopoly so they think they can do whatever they want. We have encouraged the regulator, Potraz to really deal with some of these monopolistic tendencies. We have encouraged the regulator here to really show its teeth because most of the operators here are getting away with airtime disappearing,” Mandiwanzira said.
He said government, through Potraz, would fine telecommunication network providers charging exorbitant fees.
“We really need to start fining these operators. The regulator is working on going in hard on operators abusing consumers. The costs are unjustified — the costs are just for a text message, there is nothing sophisticated about that bank alerts,” said Mandiwanzira, referring to charges for text messages generated after transactions.
“You cannot hold an asset that you were given by government through a license and think that it is entirely yours. Others must access what you have built but they should do so at a fee, a reasonable fee. That is the message we have given to Econet, Netone and Telecel. You own the frequency to the extent of your license but we can also tell you what to do,” he said.
newsdesk@fingaz.co.zw

  • ndhlovu

    Warwadziwa Super

    • Tha Boss

      Am sure he wanted Telecel to be the major player. He has a soft spot for this network

  • kwv

    Will people never learn that these government things NEVER work?

    • Tha Boss

      Kwv, always love your comments. They never work for real. we need a total mindset change in most gvt departments

      • kwv

        You first have to have a mind, in order to change it!

  • Lloyd

    Don’t hate the player Honourable. Hate the game, instead.

    • Tha Boss

      Well said Lloyd, wonder what he will say next

  • give

    since govt owns telcel and netone i will never use telcash or one wallet becoz i will never trust govt with my money……i dont like ecocash but the alternatives would be even worse

    • Tha Boss

      Econet controls 90% of all mobile transaction, shows how useless telecash and One wallet are

  • kwv

    You cannot hold an asset that was given to you by government and think it is yours. Huh? So any “asset” can be taken back at any time? And people wonder why no one invests in Zim?

  • Trevor Steven

    Econet, the largest of the three mobile network operators in the country, has a huge share of the mobile payment market through its Ecocash platform, which processed $7,1 billion transactions between March 2016 and February 2017…….rega aite BP

  • Trevor Steven

    If you can beat them join them MP Supa if you want to be Super

  • CAPITALIST

    Bill Gates controls the software sector and the whole world depends on Microsoft but we have never heard any problem with Gates or Microsoft, Honorable Minister stop fearing for us, Strive knows how he is doing it.A company cannot stop to expand because you fear their systems.There systems are in place and are making sure that we have excellent service

    • Oscar Otamendi

      Well said CAPITALIST………..A company surely cannot stop to expand because you fear their system.

  • Jongwe Rachembera

    This is why there will never be development when we have politicians with no imagination or brains like Supa. These guys destroyed the economy and the currency now want to stop people with imagination and brains who want to try and make life easier for the population. Supa convince the old man to retire and hold free and fair elections so those who have brains can govern us.

    • Kevin Mtetwa

      Jongwe usadaro hahahhahhha hohohohohoh. What really can Supa do? Feel sorry for him

  • Former Econent

    As much as I appreciate Econet on their presence and efforts to ensure that we have convinience in our day to day transactions, this company has to do away with its bully mentality, thier mafia approach of doing business is pathetic. They are dictators and think noone can do anything better than them. I worked at this company for two years. If firms like MTN or vafacom are allowed in Zim we would be talking of something else. Sad Telecel and Netone’s majority shareholder seem to be fast asleep to cope with Econet

  • gogo vevazukuru

    Supa anowanza musombodhiya

  • OMG

    The Emperor has no clothes…

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