1. Which company will be offering funeral cover for 6.5 cents a day?

    So I still don’t have any idea which company is behind this teaser ad campaign, or indeed if it’s even a telecoms/internet company. We should all find out in a couple of days I’m sure. But in the meantime, speculation never hurt anyone. Let’s.

    Assuming it’s a tech company, there are only 3 ‘red’ of them that are large enough to throw money at teaser ads. And that’s Telecel, Broadcom, and Africom. Of those three, let’s pick out Telecel because, well, I think Africom is too busy playing boardroom politics to launch any new ground breaking ideas right now. And as for Brodacom, anyone with just a bit of knowledge of Zimbabwe’s telecoms industry currently, would know they’re going through some issues too. But we’re not here to talk about that.

    Back to the teaser ad campaign. I’ve been curious since it started earlier this week. Then, my mind went into overdrive trying to figure out what company this could be. It just said, “Coming soon for only 6 ½ cents a day”. I called my usual sources but none would admit it’s their company doing this. Some I suspected were lying to me – sometimes they have to – and some sounded they genuinely didn’t know.

    So, assuming it’s a tech company, I’m betting on it being Telecel. And that this may be a rehash of the Ecolife concept that Econet implemented successfully in 2010 but later (with the help of their Technical partner, Trustco mobile) messed up so bad they had to end the relationship and kill the product.

    It could still be Econet itself, who knows? Only problem with that is that Econet likes going big with campaigns. This teaser ad has appeared in a small paper and has been taking only a quarter of a page.

    Let’s see.

  2. This Nigerian is not happy about the Econet/Bharti ruling

    Just going through the comments on our Techzim Facebook page, I came across a comment to an article we posted on the Econet/Bharti case in Nigeria where a Judge handed down judgement last week in favour of Econet.

    The comment is a by a Nigerian guy called Peter Akabude who, apparently lives in Lagos. Found the comment quite interesting and it’s always good to hear from neutral guys on the ground. glad if we don’t argue about how neutral.

    Comment is the third one on this update and goes:

    I just came across some highlights of last week ruling by a Kaduna Federal High Court in the case brought before it by Econet Wireless over a 5% stake in Airtel Nigeria. Wonders shall never end o! I couldn’t help trying to figure out what informed the conclusions of the Honourable Justice Shuiab. Or how can one explain the order to revert to Econet Wireless which has just 5% equity share in the company? What then happens to the owners of the remaining 95% equity share? How could the Judge have declared all board decisions since 2003 null and void? Yet those were the decisions that positively shaped the company and made it Nigeria’s most loved telecoms brand as at today.

    I remember as a serving Corps member in Osun, I had to move to another network because of the inefficiency of the then Econet (I returned last year after the take over by Airtel). Econet came to Nigeria with a name but no financial power to drive its business hopes. Unfortunately, businesses in Nigeria, like in every other clime, recognise financial standings.

    I still recall with freshness in my mind how Econet failed Nigerians woefully despite being the first to roll out telecoms services in the country. It failed to deliver in core areas of network expansion and quality of service, thus necessitating the series of change of ownership as we all know. Now it wants to reap from the seed it left to die so many years ago. THIS IS A NEW ERA AND THE LIKES OF ECONET ARE NOT NEEDED IN THIS NATION. I will rest my case here while observing how the judiciary will treat the appeal by Airtel Nigeria (I hope they have done so already).

  3. Hey Econet, this is just careless web administration (and launch of a product)

    So today I attended the Econet VoIP launch event in Harare. Posted about it on Techzim.

    During his presentation of the new service, the econet commercial director George Barbaressos, wouldn’t disclose the tariffs of the new services. Close to the end of the presentation however, I saw a slide that had the web address of the web platform of the the service and took a photo of it:

    As any guy would do I checked the website for any information we were not getting from the presenter, and sure enough the tariffs were on the website. I tweeted the web address to the Techzim followers so they too could find more details about the new service.

    On checking the website again when I was writing the story, I noticed someone had taken down the tariffs and in place of the information put up the following image:

    By this time I had already seen tweets that the website was quite broken so I accepted that this wasn’t ready for viewing yet and the guys were fixing stuff. Advised readers the same.

    Still wanting to hunt for more information I clicked around the site. Most of the links were not working but eventually I clicked on Contact Us and it opened a page that, instead of providing Econet details, provided some “about us” and contact details of a company called SysMaster Corporation:

    Googled the company and saw that it offers VoIP Billing, Gateways and other stuff. Kinda made sense then that Econet bought the VoIP system from SysMaster and they forgot to change this. The forgetting doesn’t make sense, it’s the “why SysMaster” that does.

    This also explains other pages like the Econet VoIP “Terms of service" page which has information about a different company now called Norfa:

    Eventually found that Norfa is actually one of SysMaster’s VoIP systems and the specific one Econet got, I presume. SysMaster, it seems, created a dummy company to demonstrate Norfa to its clients. The dummy norfa actually has a website:

    So what’s the point? 

    The point is that Econet VoIP launched today in the morning and they made the web address very visible during the presentation of the new product even though they knew the platform wasn’t ready yet.

    The point is that if the web admin guy/girl at Econet was able to take down the tariffs quickly when we disclosed the web address on Twitter, how is he/she failing to just go in there and remove the default pages that come with the system?

    The main point here is: how under the sun do you launch a product, one of whose main points of interface with customers is the web, without having the web platform ready? Doesn’t make any sense.

    Let’s see how long it takes them to fix this.

  4. EcoCash, the opportunity to positively change local remittances. Somehow everybody says their competition is the banks. Don’t agree with that. It’s Zimpost!

    EcoCash, the opportunity to positively change local remittances. Somehow everybody says their competition is the banks. Don’t agree with that. It’s Zimpost!