Zim govt issues ultimatum on mobile money interoperability


Amid continued cash shortages and a push from government for inclusive financial services, Zimbabwe's ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira wants mobile money platforms in the country to be interoperable and has stipulated 1 April as the deadline for the operators to comply or risk government intervention.

The country's three mobile companies - Econet, NetOne and Telecel - run mobile money platforms. However, Econet's platform 'EcoCash' dominates with over 5 million registered subscribers.

Telecel and NetOne have also been pushing their own versions, TeleCash and OneMoney respectively.

ITWeb Africa reported Monday that subscriptions on OneMoney had soared 291.6% to 51 440 by the end of September 2017.

While some mobile money operators facilitate cross border remittances through mobile wallets, interoperability remains a challenge.

The government notes that "whilst it is possible to send money to an unregistered customer on another network, the unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platforms for operators are not yet fully integrated" hence wallet-to-wallet funds transfer have not yet been fully integrated.

Mandiwanzira warned that should operators fail to allow for fully integrated cross platform transactions by the April deadline, government would intervene and force the issue.

"The lack of Interoperability of the mobile money platforms of the networks is a major barrier to effective competition and stalls further progress in the development of mobile money services," he added.