As Plato rightly puts it, necessity is the mother of invention, which simply means the primary driving force for most new inventions is a need.
As foreign currency allocations remain a mirage to most businesses in Zimbabwe, Mobile Network Operators have started selling their airtime in foreign currency.
By Toneo Rutsito Toneo
Of great interest, we have bumped into some NetOne foot soldiers, selling USD valued airtime cards for only USD$1, a loud statement against the devaluing RTGS dollar.
The USD$1 a day juice card comes with 60 minutes talk time for NetOne to NetOne calls, Unlimited calls after 12 midnight till 4 am, and 40 SMSs valid for 24 hrs, all these come at the equivalent of RTGS$200, which makes it the best voice bundle option.
The juice card however does not give you any off-net benefits, meaning you can not call outside NetOne networks, a major fall with this one for a USD value.
Most companies have found it very difficult to continuously trade with the volatile RTGS currency, yet they have pressing FCA obligations, extending the load to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), which is only doing so much to allocate various companies so they trade.
The oldest trick in the book for most telecommunications companies has been traffic filtering (SimBox fraud), an internal technology system that converts international landing calls to look like local calls, while ultimately coming cheaper to the caller, its often regarded as an expense.
This technology will lead to telecommunications companies completely avoiding the USD taxes and in some scenarios, sharing the spoils with service providers while remitting equivalent RTGS value, another common crime again that has made multi-millionaires in Zimbabwe.