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CTC meets RBZ, Potraz over Econet inquiry

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THE Competitions and Tariff Commission met the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe seeking clarity on Econet’s mobile money business which has been a subject of investigation over the last couple of months.

The Authority also met Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe on Econet’s alleged uncompetitive practices.

Last year CTC roped in South Africa-based competition experts to investigate whether Econet has flouted competition laws in its money transfer scheme as well as the firm’s banking subsidiary.

The SA experts came out with findings and the commission as part of the investigations engaged the RBZ and Potraz as regulators of banks and mobile network operators to better understand the regulatory issues around mobile money business.

CTC assistant director (Competition) Mr Benjamin Chinhengo last week told The Herald Business that CTC met the RBZ and Potraz in a bid to seek clarity on issues surrounding mobile money transfer.

“The experts that came last year compiled some findings from the aggrieved parties and we have since submitted them to Econet’s regulatory authorities, RBZ on EcoCash while Potraz was on USSD platform.

“Both parties agreed to work on the findings of the investigation and they will come back to us and from then I think action will be made,” said Mr Chinhengo.

According to Mr Chinhengo, the investigation could reconfigure the country’s financial services sector.

Econet is locked in a long-running dispute with the local banking industry over its mobile money transfer scheme, EcoCash.

The Commission is working hard to establish whether Econet has any case to answer and whether it has flouted competition rules in its interactions with banks and suppliers.

It is alleged that Econet has refused to give banks access to its USSD platform used to channel mobile banking services preferring them to use its EcoCash platform.

Only recently Econet agreed to grant access to banks, but restricted them to a separate USSD platform to the one the mobile operator uses, more-so at a significantly higher cost.

Mr Chinhengo said the matter is now about to reach a conclusion once the two regulators meet and make their conclusion as well.

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