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BizDay Zimbabwe

Econet Goes Tracking

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Harare – Zimbabwe’s largest mobile operator, Econet Wireless, says it will soon release a tracking device to be called “EcoTrader” that is set to revolutionize the mobile tracking market in the country.
Group CEO Douglas Mboweni said “EcoTracker” would enable even farmers to keep track of their livestock as well as parents to check on the whereabouts of children. Mboweni and the company’s financial director, Roy Chimanikire, addressed delegates to the Imara Investing in Africa conference that ended in Harare on Friday (May 30, 2014).
Mboweni said Econet had realized that the traditional market of mobile telephony such as voice calls and SMS-messaging had reached “flat growth” and would now target broadband and “overlay services” as “key growth revenue areas”.
In that regard, Econet was pushing for the widespread use of smartphones because their penetration in Zimbabwe was below 10%. It was working with developers to market affordable smartphones and was had able to introduce to the market one such model that sells for as little as $55.
Mboweni said Econet needed to keep track with new technologies and would continue to invest heavily in that line. For instance, it recenly launched 4G in targeted areas such as Victoria Falls, Harare and Bulawayo.
Giving a breakdown of the company’s financials, Chimanikire said the group made $33.4 million from the Ecocash platform, justifying its acquisition of Steward Bank. Ecocash needed a commercial banking platform to meet government requirements.
Econet Wireless believes that although Ecocash had evolved and introduced new products to the market such as Ecocash Loans and Ecocash Payroll, it was far from achieving its key targets in mobile e-commerce deliverables. Ecocash, however, has become the largest mobile money platform in Zimbabwe with more than 15 000 agents throughout the country.

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