Zimbabwe’s second mobile operator Telecel has delayed the launch of its mobile money service Telecash, due to too few banks having been integrated in the system to date.
Reports had expected the service to launch in November, but Telecel has now confirmed to HumanIPO the service will not appear on the market this year, as the company needs more time to sign up further partner banks.
“The Telecash launch has been postponed because Telecel has not yet achieved full integration with all the targeted banks,” a Telecel spokesperson told HumanIPO.
“Having a certain minimum number of banks is critical to the primary functionality of this service, given the inter-operability of the service.”
Aside from sufficient levels of bank participation, internal trials have proven the system ready for launch, Telecel said, with the company eyeing a launch date in early 2014.
“We have done a soft launch internally with staff members and the system has proved to be ready. We hope to launch before end of January next year,” the spokesperson said.
Telecel is challenging rival telecoms operator Econet with the launch, and sees Telecel take advantage of the ecosystem developed over the past two years in Zimbabwe by Econet’s focus on mobile money.
Econet established a mobile money service – EcoCash – in 2011, which has seen great popularity, fuelling the company’s increase in revenues over the past two years.
HumanIPO reported in June Econet saw a 62 per cent growth in EcoCash uptake over its last financial year, bringing its subscriber base to 2.1 million; which has grown to over 3 million users in the last six months.
The operator has been quick to launch new services on its mobile money platform, in August launching a cash remittance service to facilitate the sending of money from South Africa to Zimbabwe.
In September, Econet announced a multi-million dollar EcoCash network expansion, intended to quadruple capacity in response to popularity of the service.