By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
After too many times of missed chances and opportunities, Telecel finaly scored by officially launching their long awaited mobile money transfer service, christened Telecash, at Rainbow Towers Hotel, at an event graced by government officials and business executives.
They are launching their mobile money service capitalising on three major weakness which Ecocash did not only ignore but was rather prepared to fight against mainly interconnection with other Mobile Network operators, Open Interconnection with Zimswitch and other banks and high charges against unregistered customers.
While Ecocash has hogged the limelight for its complacency to see such matters being resolved , the big question is can Telecash capitalise on those ills to woo subscribers to its platform especially when we have millions of unbanked Zimbabweans seeking affordable, ubiquitous and reliable money transfer /payment services.
Telecash faces the acidity test against its successful rivalry Ecocash, which is currently riding at an all time high of 3.5million subscribers, which is also the estimated value of all the active Telecel subscribers.
Telecel may be likely punished for complacency of over 2 years, leaving Econet Wireless running the mobile transfer show with only a meagre competition from Netone, the state owned operator which only summersaulted to competition few months back.
It’s a game of numbers, and Telecash is just getting started, competing against a product which has seen 2 years and 5 months of operation at its advantage, tried and tested some operational tactics yet this may also turn to work to Telecash` advantage.
For Telecash, The road has been cleared and polished, I remember we struggled how Ecocash would function and compared it to the distanced Mpesa and many people could not easily grasp how mobile money transfers can work without the active participation of banks, but today a larger chunk does not need to be educated on such functionalities.
EcoCash Charges or tariffs
For most Zimbabweans using cost effective measures to transact is a much more attractive selling point to hammer home. Telecash is most likely to charm millions by their heavily reduced tariffs which by no means are 40% or less cheaper compared to Ecocash.
Telecash Charges or tariffs
Telecash has signed up on the Zimswitch platform with 13 local banks making direct money movements from bank accounts to Telecash wallets much easier and flexible even across the Real Time Gross System (RTGS.) while the same prerogative has not been extended to EcocashSave `s bank, Steward Bank.
This will be a first in Zimbabwe seeing real convenience of actual cash access transactions occurring after banking hours, a system that frustrates most Zimbabwean banked population when banks continuously close them out.
Its now much easier for anyone to transact and understand how mobile money services work and this is a platform which Telecash can strongly use to their advantage and of course this advantage is open for any Mobile Network Operator.
With a potential of over 13million subscribers, the game is just too early to call off. The total number of unbanked Zimbabweans is just too huge.
Its not about how much Telecash can take from the Ecocash` subscribers but rather its all about attracting the over 8million people who are yet subscribe.
Telecash has started off with 1600 liquid agents, plus many retail outlets which will be accepting Telecash while they sell their products
While closing his remarks during the official launch, the Telecash boss, Mr Nkosinathi said” We have broken a temporary monopoly, you now have an affordable choice, you can go ahead and Tell someone”
Time will tell how well the newly launched Telecash will ferry as we closely watch the latest developments at hand.
What are your thoughts?