• Who is Econet?

    Established in 1993, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is a telecom services provider giant and the first operator in Zimbabwe to launch data services with 3G technology. Econet, officially known as Econet Group, is a diversified telecommunications group with operations and investments in Africa, Europe, South America and the East Asia Pacific Rim, offering products and services in the core areas of mobile and fixed telephone services, broadband, satellite, optical fiber networks and mobile payment.
    Subsidiaries of Econet include Econet Global, Econet Wireless Africa, Econet Enterprises, Liquid Telecom group and Econet Media…
    Over the past 20 years, Econet has been the market leader in its industry, with over 12.4 million subscribers.
    Ecocash, Econet’s mobile money service, now has 200 million USD transactions per day.

    MNO’s Challenges

    Lack of value-added

    Business run separately, so it is not beneficial to build a business ecosystem and retain users. As Apps like EcoCash, EcoSure have short user retaining time and low stickiness, it is difficult to further mine value of users.

    Revenue of Traditional
    Business Declines (Voice Traffic, SMS)

    From Econet Finance Report in 2022, data consumption was up by 48%, whilst SMS traffic was down by 19% compared to same period in 2021.

    Econet market share declines due to slashed prices by competitors.

    Econet market share was down by 8% in 2020, whilst Netone’s market share was up by about 10%.

    User Behaviors Changes,
    Traditional Revenue Declines

    Users spend most time on apps, MNOs act as bridges. Revenue contribution of voice declines. Voice service is replaced by rising Internet & data.

    Users Loss

    Market share of mobile subscribers:

    2019: ECONET 71%, NETONE 20%, TELCEL 9%

    2021: ECONET 66.8%, NETONE 28.7%, TELCEL 4.5%

    2022: ECONET 65%, NETONE 32%, TELCEL 3%

    NetOne makes great progress in market expansion of 3G and LTE coverage, taking more market share.

    Political Factor

    Anti-monopoly policy suppression on monopolies like EcoCash caused underlying risk on enterprise operation.


    The decline of traditional voice messaging services, low user loyalty, high basic design operation and maintenance costs, and cross-border squeezing from major Internet companies, are the challenges currently faced by operators. Zimbabwe’s largest operator, Econet, also faces these challenges.

    African version of WeChat

    As financial technology company under the Econet Group, Cassava Fintech is responsible for increasing the group’s value-added service revenue. During an industry exchange meeting with Pheixun, both companies discussed how operators can break the mold, and proposed a concept of an ‘African version of WeChat’, which integrates mobile payment, social sharing and instant messaging — becoming the social payment application platform customized for Africa.

    Chat-pay-explore — all in one super App

    This is the original demand for the Sasai product we are currently operating. By providing free instant messaging and social sharing services, users’social relationships will be transferred into Sasai, and they will be more loyal to operator’s services. Through the SasaiPay mobile payment system, users will be also be provided with a cross-operator mobile wallet service — thus breaking the limitations of the scope of application of traditional mobile wallets.

    In order to meet more needs of the users, Sasai continues to build and improve its ecosystem, and has successively launched SasaiWatch and SasaiPodcast; two video and audio applications that provide paid subscriptions for digital content. According to the problem of network access difficulties in Africa, Sasai and sister operating company, Liquid, provided WiFiFinder hotspot access on Sasai to reduce users’ Internet traffic costs. A maximum of 50 users can join a group voice call simultaneously; group video calls support up to 20 users joining at the same time.

    Future direction-Fintech

    Through the construction of the increasingly complete Sasai ecosystem, Econet plans to expand Sasai in the field of financial technology in the future — providing cryptocurrency trading, stock trading, investment and wealth management, P2P online lending, purchasing insurance and other financial services. Customers provide richer, value-added services and enhance user loyalty. Through paid subscription, mobile payment, financial services, advertising distribution and other means, we have obtained continuous increase in value-added service revenue. This made up for the losses caused by the decline in traditional communication services, and at the same time, the growth rate of SIM card users is further improved by obtaining a free, or more favorable, Sasai package for Econet users.

    In the process of Sasai’s pan-African operations, Econet constantly discovers new needs of the users. Econet not only links different business groups and branch businesses within the group to Sasai, but also attracts a large number of service providers from outside. Sasai continuously improves its ecological construction in preparation for Africa and the rest of the world.


    In response to the challenges encountered by Econet, a social payment ecosystem named SASAI was proposed. Led by the idea of ‘chat-pay-explore — all in one’, Sasai is a mobile payment platform based on social relationships, and provides value-added services to meet the needs of users in social communication, mobile payment, content learning , information sharing and multiple requirements.


    Through the development of SASAI business, Econet’s service scope has expanded from the original three countries of Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Burundi to cover most of the countries in African continent. With the continuous improvement of SASAI’s services and ecosystem, Econet’s business scope will cover more industries and regions in the future.

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