Zimbabwe’s three mobile telecoms service providers are Econet Wireless, Telecel Zimbabwe and NetOne. And Zimbabwe’s main MFS providers include Econet Zimbabwe’s EcoCash, NetOne’s OneWallet, Telecel Zimbabwe’s TeleCash.
“In the interest of financial inclusion, Ecocash is for everyone no matter your network,” said Econet in a statement today.
What this basically means is that Telecel and NetOne users can now transact using EcoCash.
In February this year, the Government indicated that it would ‘soon’ compel local telecommunications operators to ensure interoperability across the mobile telecoms systems.
Interoperability refers to the ability of a computer system to run application programs from different vendors, and to interact with other computers across local or wide-area networks regardless of their physical architecture.
According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), interoperability can refer to the condition achieved among communications-electronics systems or items of communications-electronics equipment when information or services can be exchanged directly and satisfactorily between them and/or their users.
Interoperability (or the lack thereof) in respect of Zimbabwe’s telecommunications sector has compromised the enhancement of financial inclusion in the country insofar as mobile money transfers have become significant as a payment platform.
This explains why Government was bent on stepping in at policy and/or regulatory level to compel mobile financial service (MFS) providers to adopt full interoperability.
But the latest development where EcoCash is now interoperable, while other two providers’ platforms are not could result in Telecash and OneMoney out of the mobile money market.
Meanwhile, in another key development for Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) announced today that it has granted Econet Media a licence to set up a Voice on Demand (VOD) Service in the country.
VOD is an interactive entertainment system that allows viewers to choose the material they want to watch at particular times, usually via the internet.
“Take note that Econet Media has been awarded a Broadcasting Service Licence by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe in terms of Section 10 of the Broadcasting Services Act (Chapter 12:06),” said BAZ in a statement, adding the licence area would be national.
The BAZ has also awarded Econet Media a web casting licence, whose area would also be national.
Webcasting is the process of video broadcasting live over the internet.
“Take notice that Econet Media has been awarded a broadcasting Service Licence by the BAZ in terms of Section 10 of the Broadcasting Service Act (Chapter 12:06),” it said.
In 2017, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe launched it much anticipated media offering Kwese TV.
VOD services and streaming content over the internet utilising fiber networks has grown in popularity, however the industry has been plagued by slow download speeds and the high cost of access.