Zimbabwe:Econet, banks set to finalise on tariffs agreement

MARCH 25,2014.


THE country’s leading mobile operator, Econet, and local finance institutions were set to sign an agreement that would see Zimbabweans enjoying lower banking tariffs, it has been learnt.

FBC Holdings chief executive officer John Mushayavanhu said once banks were put on Econet’s Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platform, Zimbabweans would enjoy lower rates.

He said banks and Econet were close to finalising the use of the platform.

“We are at the point of agreement, we are winning the war with Econet,” Mushayavanhu said. “We have reduced the areas of disagreement. This will lower charges from the current levels.”

USSD is a protocol used by GSM cellular telephones to communicate with the service provider’s computers.

Mushayavanhu said in the past, Econet had a disagreement with the banks on a number of issues including pricing and the platform.

Mushayavanhu said Econet wanted to charge 30 cents per transaction and demanded that the banks use a different USSD platform from the one Econet was using.
“We think we are close and they know the tariff is supposed to be five cents,” he said.

The Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe could not give any details on the platform as the engagement was being done on individual bank basis.

Efforts to get a comment from Econet were fruitless by the time of going to print.

Econet launched EcoCash in 2011, a mobile money transfer platform that allows people to receive and send cash.

It has over 9 million subscribers and out of that 3,5 million were registered on its EcoCash platform.

While Econet was yet to connect all banks on its platform, Telecel, through its mobile money transfer system Telecash, was already connected to the Zimswitch platform with all banks.