24 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Ecocash Plans to Invade New Sectors

ECONET Wireless plans to spread its EcoCash business to other sectors of the economy, as the mobile operator cements its foothold in mobile money services.

The move comes after the operator successfully tied up partnerships with three financial institutions and is on the verge of adding three more banks within two weeks.

EcoCash has partnerships with CBZ, Stanbic and TN Bank, whereby account holders can transfer money on the phones from their accounts to the EcoCash wallet, request mini statements and balance inquiries, among others.

Econet chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni said the success of EcoCash partnerships with banks had motivated the mobile operator to look for opportunities in other sectors of the economy.

"As far as we are concerned, we have said that the financial sector is now behind us. We are now moving into new sectors. We are now moving into health.

"This mobile [handset in hand]must be the centre into which a lot of services tap to make life easier for our subscribers," Mboweni said on Wednesday.

The telecommunications company is investing heavily in network infrastructure and has already committed US$677 million in the last three-and-half years.

As a result of such a huge investment, the mobile operator has said that it would leverage on the infrastructure in place to transform the lives of subscribers.

"We want to be associated with technology that transforms people's lives," Mboweni said.

EcoCash was launched in 2011 to ride on the massive investment in infrastructure made by the country's largest mobile operator.

Its subscriber base has passed 1,7 million. Econet has taken over TN Bank to help drive the process.

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