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Econet rides on World Cup fever with Kwese iflix service



Kwese Iflix

The World Cup tournament has been a boon for the uptake of Kwesé iflix, Econet Media’s recently launched video-on-demand service, which offers top sports and entertainment content on mobile phones, tablets and other multimedia platforms on the go.

The service, which was launched in Zimbabwe a little over three weeks ago, has taken the market by storm, with Econet Wireless Zimbabwe riding on the popularity of the World Cup to drive its adoption and push its data service usage.

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe CEO Douglas Mboweni said the World Cup had given the service a fillip, coming soon after Kwesé iflix was launched.
“We are seeing spectacular uptake both in terms of customer adoption and data usage because of the on-going the World Cup,” he said.

“Also, the customer feedback we have been getting is most encouraging; the market loves the product, and users of the service very happy with the platform and its content.”

Early this year, Econet announced that it had achieved 100% 3G coverage throughout the country, and had completed the deployment of its high-speed LTE (4G) network in all the major cities and resort centres in the country.

The company has also deployed close to 600 Wifi hotspots around the country, including mobile Wifi in public transport.

The Kwesé iflix service – a joint venture between Econet Media and iflix – offers users a unique multimedia viewing experience, which includes live coverage of sporting competitions, with the current pick of the cherry being the FIFA World Cup currently underway in Russia.

It also offers international and regional content programming – including the popular NBA games.

Mboweni said to enjoy the Kwesé iflix’s video-on-demand and as well as “linear” (or live) broadcast services, all that customers needed to do was to download the Kwesé iflix App on the Google Play Store or on the Apple App Store, and register.”

Thereafter, he said, they would use their data to subscribe to a wide range of programmes of their choice.

“Once a customer has the Kwesé iflix App on their device, they are good to go; they can stream content of their choice wherever and whenever they want to, as long as they are within the Econet mobile data or Wifi networks.

It is believed Kwesé -flix will help drive data usage on the Econet broadband networks, something that will further propel the company’s growing data revenues to surpass its voice revenues, something already happening in the developed markets, such as the USA.

Mboweni confirmed this, saying the Kwesé iflix service was very much a part of the ‘TMT’ (telecom, media and technology) model that Econet has been pursuing in recent years, and that the strategy had started to pay dividends.

“When the Econet group talks about the TMT model, Kwesé iflix and Kwese Play are the ‘media’ component of that business model,” he said.

“The two services depend, to a large extent, on content from global providers like Netflix, which is available on Kwesé Play.”

Industry experts say Econet, which has invested in an extensive network of mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure that includes 4G, fixed and mobile Wi-Fi, as well as Fibre – is well positioned to grow its data revenues much quicker now that it has developed a strong multi-media content platform.

The Standard


Elon Musk Unveils Revolutionary AI Startup xAI



xAI Elon Musk

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has announced the formation of a new artificial intelligence startup called xAI. The company comprises engineers who have previously worked at companies like OpenAI and Google. Musk has previously expressed his belief that AI development should be paused and regulated.

The aim of xAI is to “understand reality” and “the true nature of the universe,” although its specific objectives and funding are currently unknown. The company will host a Twitter Spaces chat on Friday that may reveal more details. Musk was an original backer of OpenAI, but his relationship with the company has deteriorated due to his criticisms of their language model, ChatGPT, for having a liberal bias and its relationship with Microsoft.

He has also signed an open letter calling for a pause to “Giant AI Experiments” and has expressed concerns about AI safety and the data used to train chatbots. Musk purchased Twitter and made significant changes, leading to some high-profile departures from the platform.

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Econet goes into forex exchange. Launches bureau de change



Ecocash Zimbabwe

ECOCASH has launched a digital mobile phone-based bureau de change in a move set to increase competition in the foreign currency exchange business.

The innovative facility, a first by a mobile money service provider, will likely revolutionise the business by providing the much-needed convenience to the platform’s 10 million registered customers.

According to the company, the new service will allow EcoCash customers to sell foreign currency in real-time and instantly have the local currency converted and credited to their wallets.

The move follows the granting of an operating licence to EcoCash by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which has an effect of increasing access to specialised digital financial services to millions of Zimbabweans.

Speaking at the launch of the service in Harare yesterday, EcoCash chief executive officer, Ms Natalie Jabangwe, explained how the service would work.

“Before performing a currency conversion transaction, one needs to fund their EcoCash wallet,” she said, adding that a wallet could be funded in a number of ways.

“You fund your wallet by doing a cash-in of physical US dollars (or forex) into the wallet. Or you fund your wallet over the counter, at any Econet Shop. You can also fund your wallet through a direct in-wallet receipt of remittances from the diaspora into your EcoCash wallet. This could be through existing EcoCash remittance partners, which include Cassava Remit, World Remit, Mukuru, Western Union, Money Gram, Orange Botswana and MTN.”
Ms Jabangwe said an EcoCash customer could also fund their wallet via a Nostro bank-to-wallet transfer on their phone, from their respective FCA bank account linked to the EcoCash FCA wallet. She said once the wallet was funded, a customer could then proceed to dial a dedicated EcoCash Bureau de Change menu on the access code *150# to carry out their transaction.

“Customers will be able to check the rate of the day, get a quote for the amount to be sold and receive instant ‘confirmation of sale’ of foreign currency and the ZW$ conversation amount – all this happening via their mobile phone,” Ms Jabangwe said.

Cassava Smartech CEO, Mr Eddie Chibi, the parent company of EcoCash, said: “We are excited to be the first and only mobile financial service provider in Africa to offer this innovative service to our customers, empowering them with a simple, convenient, fast and real-time Bureau de Change service that they can access and use to transact anywhere, anytime.”

He said the service will help customers access competitive exchange rates quickly, convert or change their money in real-time, and transact on a secure platform that they have come to trust.

Ms Jabangwe said EcoCash Zimbabwe continued to leverage on the dynamic innovation capabilities that technology gives by building new products and services that go beyond the early services of financial inclusion.

“The advantage of having a scaled transaction platform is that you can build new services in line with a changing market environment. Accessibility of these services on the mobile phone enables us to travel the journey with our customers towards more complex but necessary financial services in the future,” she said. The Chronicle

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Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe ventures into trucks business



Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe

Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe, yesterday launched the Vaya logistics unit, an additional entity that deals with delivery trucks and van services under its Vaya division.

The launch of the new product was done at the Cassava Smartech stand at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).

Like any ordinary ride, the trucks and vans can be “easily” booked from anywhere at any time via the convenience of a mobile application, management said.

Chief executive officer Mrs Dorothy Zimuto said the launch came about after Cassava had noticed high demand for service to transport cargo on the market.

“Today, here in Bulawayo, we are launching Vaya logistics under the Vaya division because we noticed that there is a need to transport cargo from one place to another,” she said.

She said the company noticed that people using Vaya mobile were bringing cargo along with them which small rides could not transport.

“Previously we only had Vaya express, which moved small packages from one point to another but we have now introduced vans and trucks that can transport heavier cargo,” said Mrs Zimuto.

She said the services were not in competition with any business but were rather complementing what is already on the market.

Mrs Zimuto said Cassava was working on introducing waste disposal services and Vaya specialists services such as borehole drilling, road construction and plumbing under the Vaya division.

She said Cassava was looking at creating a pool of builders, plumbers, electricians, agronomists, mechanics, drivers, nurse aides, carpenters, tillers, tailors, tutors, hairdressers, barbers and domestic workers so that they can be connected to their various markets under an initiative called Technites.

Cassava Smartech has managed to successfully bring into operation Vaya tractor and ambulance services, which can also be accessed on the Vaya mobile app.

Meanwhile, Cassava Smartech, taking advantage of the ZITF platform, has also launched its shuttle services by offering free rides to exhibitors, business people and professionals travelling to the trade fair by air.

Throughout the trade fair week, the Vaya shuttle will be offering free shuttle service to all visitors to ZITF landing at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport. The Chronicle

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