Yesterday was a big day for One Horizon Group, a carrier-grade VoIP system for mobile providers and smartphones. The company announced that it will be launching its proprietary VoIP technology in Africa through a license agreement with Zimbabwe operator Econet Wireless. Econet is a provider of telecommunications services that offers solutions in mobile wireless, Internet access and charging solutions. What’s so important, though, is that One Horizon Group will now be able to offer its services to Econet’s 9.2 million registered subscribers.
The agreement allows roamers to make high-quality phone calls home for about the same amount as a local call would be. For those who worry about using unfamiliar technologies when it comes to payment, the entire transaction will be secure thanks to Econet’s mobile payment wallet, EcoCash.
EcoCash’s credibility can be seen in the sheer number of people who use it on a regular basis. Much like Venmo, the app is focused on person-to-person money transfers. The technology went live in 2011 and, within 18 months of its launch, 31 percent of Zimbabwe’s adult population had registered for the service. Now, it offers a savings account, international transfers, banking services, payroll services and solutions for public transportation and retail.
Having this type of technology available could be a game changer when it comes to the number of people who use One Horizon Group’s VoIP technology. Travelers will love having the ability to call home without hearing the “cha-ching” of money flying out of their pockets. What they’ll love even more, though, is being able to trust the service they’re using to make transactions. No one wants to deal with money troubles, especially when in a foreign country.
One Horizon Group’s decision to come to Zimbabwe is part of a larger plan to bring their services all over Africa. Therefore, teaming up with Econet was a good choice, because the company is part of a diversified telecommunications group headquartered in South Africa and servicing Africa, Europe, South America, East Asia and Australia.
Brian Collins, CEO of One Horizon Group, commented on the launch by saying, “After successfully launching our proprietary, low bandwidth, VoIP technology in the Philippines with Smart Communications, we are pleased to have established our presence in a new emerging market in Zimbabwe with its leading mobile network operator. Our white label application has been customized for the demand of Econet's subscribers and fully integrated with EcoCash.”
He goes on to discuss the importance of integrating with EcoCash by saying, “It was very important to Econet that their subscribers who are traveling abroad could transfer money back home to their family seamlessly and without risk of transferring physical cash to top-up their mobile devices. Money is now transferred safely and securely, ensuring families can stay in contact for approximately the same rate as a local call. This feature gets the heart of how intimately involved we get with each carrier in each new market to ensure that their subscribers have all the features, benefits and flexibility they need.”
Edited by Maurice Nagle