Econet Wireless and the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) have entered into a partnership which will enable EcoCash users to pay tollgate fees using the platform.
The new system will be available at 20 tollgates across Zimbabwe before being rolled out country wide.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni said the service would help travelling motorists to experience the convenience of using EcoCash while providing Zinara with a safe, secure and convenient revenue collection method.
“The state of the art value proposition is not the ordinary Pay Merchant, but a specific solution unique to Zinara, which allows users to link a mobile phone wallet with a registered vehicle for auto-detection and instant access at the tollgate,” she said.
“The auto detection of the pre-loaded toll wallet at toll gate offers complete disruption to the manual payment method of cash and cards, saving motorists queuing time with a payment experience of under 10 seconds granting express toll access to motorists.”
Currently tollgate fees are pegged at $2 for light vehicles and $3 for minibuses whilst buses, heavy vehicles and haulage trucks pay $4, $5 and $10 respectively.
ECONET Wireless has expanded its ‘Ruzivo Smart Learning’ to secondary schools by allowing Ordinary Level pupils to access lessons via mobile phones for free.
The latest development will see Forms 3 and 4 pupils being able to access quality, convenient and affordable education via their mobile phones, tablets, laptops or any internet connected devices.
The Ruzivo service will offer six subjects —Mathematics, Geography, Integrated Science, English, Shona and Ndebele, said Econet.
The facility is a revolutionary online interactive digital learning platform with locally developed academic content including interactive lessons, exercises and tests. Access to the Ruzivo content is free, with no subscription fees or internet charges to access the learning materials using an Econet line.
ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe’s revenue for the year ended February 28 dipped 3 percent to $621,70 million, largely due to declining voice revenues.
The country’s largest mobile telecommunications network, however, saw the rate of revenue decline slow down from 14 percent recorded in the same period last year.
Profit after tax retreated 10 percent to $36,188 million from $70 million a year earlier, after the company’s voice revenue calls took a huge hit in that year.
Earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortization declined to $224 million, from $238,4 million, a decline of 6 percent. However, Econet said that “even under these challenging conditions, at 36 percent, the EBITDA margin remains competitive”.
Earnings Before Interest and Tax had declined from $286 million to $238 million in 2016, nearly 17 percent retreat in EBITDA on prior year.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has launched a new product, Wifi in Kombis, which is set to revolutionise urban public transport and bring real convenience to hundreds of thousands for commuters that use kombis.
Kombis are one of the leading modes of public transport for most Zimbabweans commuting from one point to another.
Speaking at the launch ceremony held yesterday at the company’s head office in Msasa, Harare, Econet chief operating officer Fayaz King said he was excited to unveil the new product, which would complement the company’s popular Data Double Up offering.
“I am excited and happy for our customers, most of whom use public transport on a daily basis. Now they don’t have to wait until they get off the kombi to check their mails, browse their favourite sites or to stream video content,” King said.
He added that what was even more exciting was the fact that customers could now use the 100% free Wifi data they get for any data bundle purchase on the kombis anytime and anywhere, on the go.
“For every purchase of a data bundle, customers get extra 100% free Wifi data that they can use when riding in a kombi,” King said.
ECONET Wireless’ mobile banking facility EcoCash has partnered with Central Africa Building Society (CABS) to enhance customer banking and merchant services.
In a joint Press statement, the two parties said the partnership would result in the rolling out of a first of its kind, unique point of sale integration solution, which allows EcoCash users to simply enter their mobile number at retailers’ integrated or stand-alone point of sale devices.
“EcoCash pin validation is done via the customer’s registered mobile device. To ensure the ecosystem is balanced end to end, banking services have also been introduced for CABS customers that hold EcoCash wallets.
“To enjoy the convenience, customers can transfer funds between CABS and EcoCash and from EcoCash to CABS in real-time, 24/7,” read the statement.
ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe’s revenue is set to tumble 8,9% year-on-year to $584 million in 2017 before waning further in 2018 on the back of economic headwinds and regulatory interventions, stockbrokers IH Securities has projected.
In an update after Econet successfully raised $130 million through a rights offer of ordinary shares and linked debentures to pay its foreign obligations, the equity research firm said liquidity challenges, regulatory interventions and low disposable income were likely to persist in the medium-term.
“We forecast a decline in revenue of 8,9% y/y [year on year] for FY17 [full year] to $584 million and a further 0,7% y/y decline for FY18 to $580 million. Post FY18, we anticipate continuous innovation, and greater contribution from EcoCash and broadband, will uplift revenue beyond the $600 million mark, growing CAGR [compound annual growth rate] 2% to 2022,” IH said.
IH added that cash flow was envisaged to remain affirmative, but there was no anticipated redemption of the proposed debenture in the medium-term as the liquidity crisis inhibiting remittance of forex abroad was expected to continue.
“While we expect sturdy EBITDA [earnings before interest taxation, deductions and amortisation] margins going forward, with slight improvements initially due to continuous cost rationalisation efforts, our net income estimate for FY18 at $50,5 million is a 56,6% y/y jump from our FY17 estimate of $32,9 m (-17.9% y/y),” it said.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS operators have agreed to share infrastructure as this promotes the national interest, cost cutting and reduces duplication, Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Deputy Minister, Dr Win Mlambo has said.
“We’re deadly serious about doing the correct thing in the country. Starting with approval, the concept has been approved. We spoke to stakeholders and network operators who have anonymously agreed that it’s going to be done and it’s the correct way to do.
“It has been done elsewhere in the world to cut costs, avoid duplication and speed up roll out of networks,” said Dr Mlambo.
He said the ministry was still dealing with legal hurdles, which will show how the process will be undertaken. The Deputy Minister said the public and the private sector should know that the process will take time as necessary procedures have to be followed.
EcoCash limit for transactions within Zimbabwe has been increased from $1,000 per day to $5,000. The monthly limit has been raised to $20,000 from $3,000.
An SMS sent to EcoCash customers reads: "We are please to advise that your EcoCash limit for transactions within Zim has been revised to $5,000 per day and $20,000 per month."
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The Postal and Telecommunications Authority of Zimbabwe says it will not tolerate mobile network company promotions that exhibit tendencies of predatory pricing.
“Predatory pricing”, the telecommunications regulator said, refers to the act of setting prices low in an attempt to eliminate competition.
This comes after the industry regulator came up with stringent guidelines for the running of promotions by telecoms operators this year. According to Potraz, the new guidelines took effect from March 21, 2017. Potraz said the guidelines, among others, are meant to promote ethical conduct, standards, minimum requirements and protect consumers.