By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
The game has just gotten dirtier, it seems we are heading for another showdown and this time around the Econet Vs Telecel tiff has swapped gloves for money transfer agents.
It all began with a text message which some insiders have allegedly traced back to a regional manager with Econet.
The text message read:”
The general consensus with the agents is that having all the mobile transfer services under one roof increases their revenue streams and it does not make sense for them to jump one shop or booth to the other only to serve clients of different mobile operators.
The agents, like any other street vendors have vowed to resist the directive as this makes it impossible for them to exclusively operate as Ecocash agents yet they have been dealing with all mobile network operators previously while selling their airtime without a single complaint from any operator.
The agents survive on a small commissions and the higher the number of transactions they make the higher the revenue they get and when such an opportunity is presented to them, stopping it is tantamount to discouraging growth in a highly unemployed ecosystem.
Running separate shops entails the agents to extra overhead costs of rent, electricity, wages etc while most of the agents in Zimbabwe do not solely rely on funds from these transactions but depend on many other merchandise they sell along the mobile money transfer business.
For Econet, I think they really find it unfair for them to do all the groundwork of clearing the field only to get Telecash agents to perch on their ground and enjoy easy scores.
Ecocash had to go for years preparing for the ground, starting agents centres not only in towns but in remote, rural areas including branding booths and shops and all that work is about to be simply transferred or shared with their competitor on a silver platter.
Whether or not Econet agrees to this fact, the truth is that it really stings and no one with serious business interests would be expected to sit back and relax while such a platform flies away.
What Econet may have lacked here is a proper strategy to defend their title, rather they would have no game played than to see the opponent score in their own turf.
Ironically Econet does not own the agents building they are operating from, wonder how they would react if forces would combine and advocate for a complete stay away from Ecocash, this is unhealthy and would be evil to say least of.
For Telecash they cant be blamed for playing a game in a field that they did not prepare, besides we can not all prepare the same ground yet they are obvious pros and cons of the game and Telecel seems to be going for the bigger piece here as their wait and see strategy seems to be now paying off.
Ecocash has numbers to their advantage and they simply need a smarter plan B to invoke not start with plan Z.
The differences between Econet and Telecel cannot be allowed to denigrate to such levels in a society where healthy competition should be cultivated.
While Cocacola and Pepsi may not share the same fridge, it would be ridiculous for Cocacola to order every shop not to sell Pepsi under their own roof.
Strange enough the same warning shot from Econet was never heard of when Netone Officially launched or even Relaunched their one wallet, making it too obvious that the battle here is specifically targeted to Telecash
Econet wireless has seen the competitive edge of Telecash and it has to be forgiven for such a move as they protect their own interest, unfortunately Econet is making another open mistake which may affect their image, let alone likely to leave them with eggs on face should they lose the battle.
It’s that time again where fair competition has to be called to reign and Telecel has already complained about the issue to the local regulator Potraz and were advised to approach the reserve bank as it regulates over financial services.