15 May 2014

Zimbabwe: Econet Wary of Whatsapp Threat

Harare — ECONET Wireless, Zimbabwe's biggest mobile network operator, has introduced bundles for the popular Whatsapp social network, as the platform eats into its short message service (SMS) offering.

The company teamed up with technology company, Sandvine Usage Management Solution, to introduce with varying plans that enables customers the chance to purchase Whatsapp bundles for unlimited access.

The bundle plans are 30 cents daily, 95 cents per week and $3 per month.

Econet's technical partners, Sandvine said the platform had seen more traffic as subscribers share photos, videos, voice notes among other popular real time communication for free.

“Many subscribers are using first generation smartphones and talk and text plans. This bundle has opened up an opportunity for Econet to launch service plans that incentivize subscribers to move to data-driven services that are affordable to users and profitable to the network,” said Sandvine Chief Technical Officer, Don Bowman.

He said his company's facilities had helped Econet to maintain its position as a market leader in the sector.

Using the same partners, Econet also runs unlimited Facebook bundles and has indicated that it might soon introduce twitter bundles.

Whatsapp is virtually free on most mobile networks across the world and its growth is threatening the short message service (SMS) and multimedia messaging service (MMS).

Whatsapp is now processing more than 10 billion messages every day making it one of the most popular way of communication. It accounts for more than 23 percent of Econet's network activity.

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