VENTURES AFRICA – Econet Wireless Services CEO Mr Darlington Mandivenga, has debunked news that the telecom operator has denied banks access to its platform for integration- EcoCash; a claim reportedly made by the immediate past president of the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, Mr John Mushayavanhu.
Mr Mandivenga said: “That is simply not true. We have agreements with most of the banks, and we are currently carrying out physical connections with most of them. We at Econet initiated the process, and we are very keen to get it completed…”
“Right now I am expecting three major banks to go live within 10 days, because we are almost complete,” Mr Mandivenga said, adding that he expects most banks to have their systems running by the end of March.
The Econet Wireless executive named CABS as the only institution which has been actively trying to fight the EcoCash service and has tried unsuccessfully to lobby against it.
“As you know, CABS have been working with ZIMSWITCH to launch a service called Textacash. Since their own customer base is very small compared to the Econet subscriber base of 8 million, they want us to open up our system, so that they can simply spam any of our customers with text messages. We will never allow that because it would not only violate our license, it would be total abuse of customers’ privacy.”
Mr Mandivenga named former CABS boss, Mr Kevin Terry, now at Old Mutual, as the main instigator.
Mr Mandivenga said that the campaign by Mr Terry had not surprised Econet. “Our friends in the banking system have told us about his campaigns to try and preserve the status quo in which less than 3 percent of our people had access to the formal financial system, and where thousands of people had to line up every month for hours just to access their own money, or travel all day just to find a CABS branch. This is not the future.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is a subsidiary of the Econet Wireless Group, headquartered in South Africa. It is Zimbabwe’s largest provider of telecommunications services, providing solutions in mobile and fixed wireless telephony, internet access, mobile money transfer and payment solutions.
Econet launched its network on the 10th of July 1998 and listed on 17th September 1998. It is one of the largest companies on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in terms of market capitalisation. Econet holds over 70 percent share of the Zimbabwe mobile market. Econet had 8-million customers as at January 2013.