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Minister Shamu praises Telecel for its competitiveness

by Mike Hamilton
31 Jan 2014 at 17:48hrs | Views
Zimbabwe can be proud of the speed with which mobile telecommunications have grown within the country and of its high mobile phone usage penetration rate, Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Webster Shamu said on Thursday.

Speaking at the launch to stakeholders of Telecel Zimbabwe's mobile financial service, telecash, the Minister praised Telecel for playing a major role in achieving this, in particular through the initiatives it had taken to make mobile phone use affordable for virtually everyone.

"In particular I should like to commend Telecel for the lead it took several years ago in bringing down dramatically the cost of SIM cards and mobile phone handsets.

"In doing this, Telecel introduced real competition into the mobile telecommunications sector, resulting in a general lowering of prices and in virtually every Zimbabwean, certainly in urban areas, being able to afford to own and use a mobile phone. This has had a tremendous impact on information communication," he said.

He stressed the importance of information communication technology in today's world, saying it was vital for economic and business development.

"Zimbabwe has come a long way within a relatively short period of time when it comes to information communication technology. However, still more needs to be done, particularly in terms of increasing broadband speeds.

"The ability to access the internet from mobile phones and communicate worldwide from mobile phones not just through phone calls but by e-mail and messaging has made it easier for business people to conduct their business from wherever they happen to be. It has made it easier for ordinary people to start their own businesses and create employment," he said.

He commended Telecel for providing mobile broadband services which had been assessed by at least one survey as being the fastest and most reliable in the country.

"Telecel has become known for its aggressive competitive marketing. This has not always gone down well with its competitors but it has benefited not only Telecel's customers but Zimbabweans in general, as it has resulted in other networks responding by offering their own competitive promotions and services, making mobile phone services in general more affordable.

"I am pleased to hear that telecash transaction charges will, like other Telecel charges, be competitive," he said.

He urged Telecel to maintain its commitment to providing reliable, effective, innovative, high quality services at a competitive and affordable price.

"As a Minister in a people-centred Government, I must say I find Telecel's customer-centred focus and efforts to make modern mobile phone technology accessible to and affordable for ordinary people pleasing and in line with the development goals we have for our country.

"Government as you know places great emphasis on information communication technology, which it believes is essential for promoting economic development and the welfare of our people," he said.

Drawing attention to the rapid convergence there had been of means of communication that used to be viewed quite separately, the Minister said telecommunications, radio television, video and data services had converged most dramatically in the mobile phone that people carried in their pockets and handbags.

"Some of you may remember when cellphones were first introduced. They were primarily for making phone calls. Now they are used for a lot more: for taking photographs and videos; for listening to the radio or music, for playing games, for accessing the internet; for messaging; and now for transferring money and purchasing goods and services.

"The technology involved has evolved quickly and continues evolving," he said.

Telecash should be of great benefit to Telecel customers, he said, adding that it should be of particular benefit to those who do not have bank accounts.

"It should be of particular benefit to those living in rural areas far from any bank and to those who wish to send money to relatives in rural areas," he said.

Telecel Zimbabwe mobile financial services director Nkosinathi Ncube explained to those present at the launch how telecash works. He said telecash could be used to send money to anyone with a mobile phone, regardless of what network they use.

Telecel Zimbabwe general manger Angeline Vere illustrated this point by transferring money to the phones of some of the key guests at the launch who were on other networks.

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