With the rise in the importance of mobile money in the Zimbabwean economy, here is a brief look into whether NetOne’s OneWallet did enough in a highly competitive market where the competition has done everything short of bringing your money to your house.
One of the best things to come to Zimbabwe has been mobile money. With the collapse of the banking sector and lack of confidence in banks’ ability to survive for four years at a time the use of mobile money has shot up.
The convenience of mobile money, the reach that has in Zimbabwe and generally the ease with which people can utilize the services are the reason why it is where it is. Too many people are not formally employed and therefore cannot provide the required pay slips or even initial deposits that banks require for them to open accounts. So why not just use mobile money that doesn’t ask too much of you. And for their skeptics, at least EcoCash Save from Ecocash is backed by Steward bank.
NetOne was the first cellular service provider in the country, and mobile money was another thing they pioneered for us. Then they got hit by that parastatal bug; the one that has them thinking they never have a reason to compete, the bug that has them thinking introducing a service is enough…they do not have to follow through. In the end the first OneWallet was a total flop. It feels like they are trying to flop harder this time around.
TeleCash did it in two tries as well. Telecel started with Skwama which they swiftly killed off and decided that the middle was the safest place to be. They waited for someone else to start it and edited that. Down to the name: Ecocash – TeleCash…that was a cheeky but smart in a Chinese sweatshop type of way.
NetOne had seen potential for a great service. I just feel like they didn’t invest enough onto teaching us how it worked or how convenient it would be, they didn’t take advantage of the pros of mobile money which heavily outweighed the benefits of banking…especially throughout Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown. Mobile money has been one of the foundation stones to getting the Zimbabwe economy on its feet by promoting movement of cash in the economy.
A notable first NetOne gave us was the ability to purchase prepaid electricity on your phone (how cool was that!!???!!). NetOne obviously doesn’t have a shortage of thinkers on the product creation side. It pains me that all this has to be followed by a “but”…the sad reality is that doesn’t count for much now, I can but my electricity while I buy bread in the morning or at the pharmacy across the road.
Generally, the services that can be obtained when one has money in their one wallet are interesting. The problem is that NetOne OneWallet agents do not exist. I live in the avenues close to the CBD and I cannot find an agent anywhere in the radius of 5 blocks from home. So how would anyone who wants to use their service actually use it? NetOne absolutely lacks convenience on this part.
The whole point in the mobile money game should be that I can get access to the money at the easiest convenience. It is still easier to go to a bank when you live a growth point than to access your money when you use OneWallet. That is bad. That is a disadvantage, as far as disappointments go…this one is a perfect ten.
Not giving customers convenience is a bad thing to do in this age where EcoCash is getting better and allowing their users to have it in either Shona or Ndebele (yup! It has gotten to that). on top of that with EcoCash you can withdraw your money at any steward bank ATM, so for after hours withdrawals(cashouts) when even the agents have gone to bed, EcoCash seems to have us covered. So yes NetOne is not serious. That is why last year it was reported that in 2012 NetOne made a sad US$1 194 of that years input of US$225 867. With how much OneWallet lacks, I doubt they did any better than that in the two years that have passed since then, resorting not to invest at all.
Unfortunately for NetOne comparison is the name of the game and their competition: Telecash and Ecocash though younger, are light-years away in terms of actual service provision. So forgive me if I feel like OneWallet does not exist.
Actually, to the guys at NetOne, if you have a budget for the marketing of OneWallet you need to fire everyone in marketing. They’re using it on the wrong thing. Either on their salaries or on branded company cars for them. Not helping anything.
You may want to read any of these, most of them are really old but that’s where some of what i said was coming from: