Ever since the debacle involving Ecocash’s problematic system upgrade last year, One Money has been on a renewed quest to lure away customers from Ecocash. This has been a welcome development especially considering that people have been longing for a substantial alternative to Ecocash. To say One Money is now a formidable alternative to Ecocash would be folly though because they are still a long way off. Though it would still be fair to say One Money has made some progress. In the third quarter of last year, their subscribers increased by 27% from 335 132 to 428 529.

Mobile, Mobile Money Subscriber Base And Market Share

Econet has roughly 9 million subscribers whilst NetOne has a subscriber base of over 3 million. Econet also has nationwide network coverage of over 90%. It is not surprising why not too long ago we saw Econet and NetOne entering an infrastructure sharing deal. It is because Econet is light years ahead in terms of network coverage infrastructure. By projecting from last year’s third quarter we can assume One Money has over 500 000 subscribers at the moment. Ecocash, however, has over 6 million subscribers. Ecocash had a market share of approximately 99.7%. One Money was 0.3% of the mobile money market with Telecash at 0.03%. These are official stats from the third quarter of 2019. The gap that One Money has to close in terms of mobile money market share is colossal and the same goes for the mobile subscriber base.

Agent And Merchant Lines

This is a pivotal metric in as far as the uptake of One Money services is concerned. The ideal scenario is for one to be able to pay for goods and services using One Money anywhere. From some time in the last quarter of 2019 when One Money introduced the zero charges promotion, they have since registered 11 000 merchant lines and 19 000 agent lines. This is quite commendable but still, the total for One Money is still far eclipsed by Ecocash. Ecocash has way beyond 50 000 agent lines in total.

The Zero Charges Promotion Is Not Enough

This promotion has no doubt created some traction for One Money. Evidently their subscription base plus their agents and merchants base has spiked owing to this promotion. However, it is a mere drop in the ocean when comparing to the size of Ecocash. It is going to take much more than just luring customers by cheapening transactions on their platform. After all, such promotions can only be in session for as long because if maintained for too long they become unsustainable.

Other Areas Where One Money Is Falling Short

Cash shortages are making it a tall order for One Money agents to become sought after. The other issue stems from the fact that there is not that much money on the One Money platform. Other limitations come from the issue of One Money not yet being connected to most banks. Supposing that their subscription base surges immensely, I am not sure that their system will be robust enough to handle that. I guess that is something they have to start investing in now so that they do not end up like what happened with the Ecocash system upgrade. Increasing the One Money subscriber base is going to take more than just that; it will also mean increasing their mobile subscriber base. Therein presents a problem because the NetOne mobile network coverage is not as widespread across the country. Ultimately, that all means that they will have to also invest in setting up more base stations in order to increase their network coverage.

Some Of NetOne And One Money’s Areas Of Strength

Generally, service provision for both NetOne and One Money is superior to Econet and Ecocash. If you have a service query or complaint it can be quickly addressed. Even their toll-free customer helplines get picked up relatively quickly as opposed to their biggest competitor. They even came out tops on a customer satisfaction survey done by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe POTRAZ for local mobile network operators (MNOs) last year. Their network performance is also quite good – most people actually prefer their network performance pertaining to data services (it is exceptional). Their other unique selling point comes from having their mobile and mobile money packages cheaper than Econet and Ecocash.  This all has been made possible by their 4-tier strategy to focus on having a quality network, quality distribution, quality contact centre, and quality balance sheet.

So far so good for One Money but they still have a very long way to go. It is going to take quite a lot of money, resources, time and effort to catch up with Ecocash.  I do not at all mean to sound pessimistic but I am just being candid. One Money has to step up its game even more because Ecocash is right at the hilltop so it is not a stroll in the park to catch up. I am all for One Money becoming a formidable alternative to and a competitor to Ecocash. This will culminate in top-notch service provision from either of them in a bid to outdo each other.