Cassava Fintech International (CFI), a subsidiary of Econet Global, on Saturday released an enhanced voice and video conferencing service that allows up to 20 people on one call.
The service, branded Sasai TeamTalk, was unveiled as a promotional offer of free Sasai conference calling, between 8am and 5pm every Sunday until the end of the month.
The service is available through the Sasai all-in-one app that allows users to pay, chat, and explore a vast range of services, content and much more, and has been unveiled in Zimbabwe first.
Sasai TeamTalk will offer free voice and video conference service, with secure end-to-end encryption, that connects up to 20 people on a single call, compared to telcos and most other social media platforms that offer between five and eight people on a conference call.
Announcing the introduction of the Sasai TeamTalk FREE promotional offer, Eddie Chibi, the CEO of Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe said: "The timing of this service could not have been more appropriate.
"Families, communities, industries and nations have been impacted by COVID-19 pandemic.
"Lockdowns, working from home and social distancing have been introduced as some of the measures to stem the spread of the virus and flatten the curve.
"However, for business, lockdown should not mean 'shutdown' and team meetings must still happen if productivity is to be maintained. For families, friends or churches, social distancing should not mean that they stop 'seeing' each other, talking to each other or having fellowship in cell groups because they can now use Sasai TeamTalk."
This is the latest feature on the Sasai app, which already offers a unique in-app language translator service with over 80 languages, 50 of which are African languages - including Shona and Ndebele.
The Sasai app was launched in August 2019 and is already being used in 180 countries across the globe.
Chibi said following its launch in Zimbabwe, Sasai TeamTalk will be rolled out to other markets.
He said the development of Sasai TeamTalk - offering "possibly the largest meeting room any social media platform can offer" - was inspired by the need to achieve business continuity and to "close the distance" created between families and close social groups, such as churches, by social distancing.
"Sasai TeamTalk offers a platform where they can get together and interact freely, wherever they may be - even across continents," Chibi said.
He said Sasai users will be able to talk for free on Sasai TeamTalk every Sunday from 8 to 5pm, until the end of May 2020 .
"We fast-tracked this product to meet a market need to enable families, churches and communities across the country to spend time together online during this time in which they are not able to meet freely due to social distancing restrictions on movement," Chibi said.
He added that as part of the promotion, Sasai data costs at any other time would be at half of the WhatsApp data costs until May 31, as a way to bring some relief to Zimbabweans.
The Sasai app - which can take up to 250 people in a chat group - already brings families closer by allowing international remittances from the United Kingdom, European Union and South Africa to Zimbabwe and over 30 countries across the world, at the lowest fees available.
During the COVID-19 epidemic, businesses are expected to use their resources and expertise to help combat the global pandemic.
At the same time, the surge in employees, students, teachers and other professionals working from home has resulted in a sharp demand for digital "telecommuting" tools such as voice and video conferencing, online collaboration and chat systems.
Sasai Team Talk will allow multiple users to collaborate and chat virtually from anywhere in the world while staying informed and up to speed with the latest news and information on Sasai's Explore feature.
To access and instantly use Sasai TeamTalk, one must download the Sasai App on the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, start a chat and simply click on the voice or video camera icon.
Users of Sasai TeamTalk can, among other things, swap between the front and rear-facing camera, mute the call and, of course, end the call when they are done, by tapping the red phone button.
Sasai chief operating officer, Tapera Mushoriwa, said: "The Sasai TeamTalk feature was developed to address a critical need in the market.
"It sits in the all-in-one super app to provide users with efficient data usage compared to the use of separate, multiple apps."
Mushoriwa said Sasai would be adding more features to TeamTalk in the coming weeks.