The mobile markets in Africa are for the most part prepaid, with the traditional means of distribution being the sale of scratch cards. It is no secret that this distribution channel has brought its own fair share of challenges and the country has not been spared from this. At the forefront of these challenges is the paper usage environmental issues created by the recharge vouchers. Electronic airtime service platforms are now set to address this challenge.
The Covid-19 pandemic, in as far as it affected the way in which people interact, ultimately affected the patterns of behaviour with regards to airtime top up options. The promotion of social distancing in an effort to reduce the spread of the corona virus, reduced the consumers’ desire for physical airtime top up, in favour of safer contact-less options. Electronic airtime platforms have thus become more and more valuable in today’s life.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe – Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has recently applied measures to curb the abuse of physical airtime vouchers, advocating for 100% use of electronic airtime. This move has encouraged Mobile Network Operators to rethink their airtime distribution models for the convenience of customers. NetOne has been pro-active on this front by providing innovative mobile-oriented solutions that create great experiences for customers.
The organisation is currently on a drive to promote the use of electronic airtime across the market, in an effort to promote a more efficient and convenient way of accessing airtime without limitations. NetOne has employed various digitized airtime processes that allow for real-time distribution through multiple channels including web, SMS, USSD and application interface.
The first service offering for electronic airtime is through the mobile financial services solution provided by NetOne’s OneMoney. The payments platform allows one to be able to purchase airtime and bundles for themself or others by dialling *111#. The platform allows you to purchase airtime of any amount and gives you access to all of NetOne’s bundle packages. The greatest advantage of using this platform is that you get a 10% discount with every purchase. A great way of saving if you are rolling on a budget.
Secondly there is always that regular Joe that has a regular vendor, who always provides him with his regular airtime. Unfortunately, Covid-19 happened and regular Joe’s relationship with his regular vendor is strained due to the fears of contracting the virus. In October 2020, NetOne launched E-Top Up, a pin less airtime buying and selling platform that allows Joe’s vendor to continue to sell airtime. Joe’s regular vendor can buy airtime at a discount and has the convenience of selling the pin less airtime of any amount, at any time, from anywhere. The platform makes use of two main channels, the *519# USSD platform allows for the transfer of airtime to any number on the NetOne network and the website interface allows for the purchase of pin less airtime as well as NetOne’s bundle offerings. So that vendor can still serve regular Joe, just not in the regular way.
The organisation has also partnered with aggregators that are also able to sell electronic NetOne airtime through their platforms. Some of these aggregators include Mindroid, Afrispark, Clicknpay, Webdev, Hot Recharge, Esolutions, FN Solutions and Think Stack. The aggregators have their own web platforms that enable them to access to NetOne airtime. If you are to visit their sites you are sure able to access your NetOne Airtime by just the click of a button. In addition to this some of these aggregators have also developed their own USSD codes for easier access to the service for example Mindroid has USSD *544#, Clicknpay has a Whatsapp bot: 0785043887 and USSD *788# and Webdev has the Whatsapp bot: 2638644729100. To sweeten the deal some of our aggregators have running promotions. Mindroid is giving a 5% discount for purchasing airtime of any amount from their platform. Clicknpay is having the ‘All in One’ promotion where if you purchase airtime worth ZWL500 or more between now and December you are entered into grand draw, where you stand a chance to win various exciting prizes including phones, airtime, data bundles, solar kits and a motor vehicle. Do take time to check out these various platforms and you never know what you might walk away with.
Finally, we cannot talk of rethinking service innovation if the organisation does not integrate its product offerings into the general routine of its customers for convenience. This is why service stations also have convenience stores, fast food outlets have drive-throughs’ and Pubs now have kitchens/restaurants. In this same vein NetOne has worked to place itself in the normal everyday routines of its customers by creating airtime access points through Supermarkets and Banks. NetOne customers can afford the luxury of comfort by being able to obtain airtime for themselves or others through the following banks: Agribank, BancABC, First Capital Bank, CABS, CBZ, Ecobank, FBC Bank, Nedbank, Meikles My Cash, Metbank, NBS, NMB, POSB, Stanbic, Standard Chartered, Stewart and ZB Bank. They can also access EVD vouchers from the following retail chain stores: SPAR, OK Zimbabwe, TM Pick ‘n’ Pay and Powersales.
All in all, Netone is developing customer acquisition and retention strategies that accelerate growth and strengthen customer relationships. The company has gone ahead of the game to ensure that its customers are not inconvenienced. Stay connected, electronic airtime recharge service has been revamped, only for you, our valued customers.