Econet Awaits Judgment From Competition and Tariffs Commission

Econet Wireless will know their verdict soon as the RBZ and Potraz deliberate on their mobile money business. The competition board, CTC, met the monetary arbitrator, RBZ, seeking clarity on Econet’s Ecocash business which has been a subject of discussion.

Close sources said the authority also met Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) on the mobile money transfer provider’s purported hostile practices.

Sources say the CTC last year roped in South-African based competition experts to investigate whether Econet has defied competition rules in its money transfer service as well as the firm’s banking subordinate, Steward Bank.

Following the findings, the commission then consulted the RBZ and POTRAZ as watchdogs of banks and mobile network operators for clarification purposes around mobile money business ethics.

The CTC assistant director Mr Benjamin Chinhengo last week confirmed the meeting with RBZ and POTRAZ in a bid to seek clearness on issues surrounding mobile money transfers. The experts compiled their discoveries from the aggrieved parties and were submitted to RBZ to look into Ecocash while POTRAZ on Ecocash USSD platform.

Both parties are currently working on the matter and will submit their outcomes to the competition board which will then give the final verdict. Econet is locked up in a long-running dispute with the local banking sector over its mobile money transfer structure, Ecocash.

The commission is working hard to establish whether Econet has any case to answer and whether it has defied competition rules in its contacts with the banks and suppliers.

It’s alleged that Econet has snubbed banks to access its USSD podium used to channel mobile banking services preferring them to use its EcoCash platform. Only recently Econet agreed to grant access to banks, but restricted them to a separate USSD platform to the one the mobile operator uses, more-so at a ominously higher cost.

According to the source, the matter is now about to reach a conclusion once the two regulators meet and make their conclusion as well. We are waiting to see how the two arbitrators are going to rule.

Is this justifiable? Is the commission being hard on Econet? Are Telecel and NetOne in line with the competition laws or they have already been reprieved silently? Let’s hear your comments if you have got any……

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: