Econet Wireless is 'a virus'

By tonyhughes Hughes, in , posted: 30-Jul-2006 17:48

From the New Zealand Herald (a NZ based news website, yet to hit the mainstream)...

(Full Herald story linked at bottom of this article)

"We are a virus," the Auckland-born (Tex) Edwards says.
"There is a whole team of people behind the rough-and-ready Tex, all ready to behave like Kiwis once the competition rules are aligned with OECD best practice."

Sooooo...... is Econet a virus, or a team of Kiwis?

the 42-year-old former banker dubs himself and his African employer, Econet, "freedom fighters for the New Zealand consumer"

Freedom fighters. Awesome. Do you guys have like, uh, guns and stuff? You can tell us.

Oh hey, by the way, what about cellphone network services? Hows that stuff coming along?

Econet Wireless has networks in Zimbabwe, Morocco, Lesotho and Nigeria.

Wow, awesome. They must be doing really well for you. The uptake in (other people) scamming from Nigeria has probably increased ARPU there, as young 419ers can afford pimped out rides and GSM mobiles. Do you have freedom fighters in those countrys too?

A radio interview in 2003 of Mavis Mullins from the Te Huaraki Tika Trust, which owns Hautaki revealed that Mullins said returns would be “multidimensional”, creating not only benefit and potential profit from the network but “
an opportunity for Maori to upskill into this area [wireless communications]”.

To recap:

  • Tex is rough and ready (Great.... Clint Eastwood?)
  • Econet is a virus (Awesome self deprecation there guys)
  • Their New Zealand based operation is a staff of freedom fighters (Still cool... I wanna see guns an stuff!)
  • They operate networks in Zimbabwe, Morocco, Lesotho and Nigeria (Where.T.F. is Lesotho???)
  • 30% owned by Hautaki Trust
  • "Multidimensional returns" (Oh come on - who really spontaneously says that!!
  • Upskilling for Maoris (no whiteys in line for upskilling??? Gee, that hurts.)
And they want your support, and eventually, your money.

I support the concept guys, and another network + carrier would be good news. We want it. We need it. But can you deliver it, and if you do, will anyone have faith in you, given the noises that have been made for so long, with so little obvious action?

More information

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Comment by juha, on 30-Jul-2006 21:26

Lesotho is in South Africa so to speak. The ccTLD is .ls which could be useful for expressive domain names like

I think you and the Herald misunderstand what Econet is, by the way. It's most certainly not a virus.

Funny that Econet's Kenyan endeavours aren't mentioned by Tex actually.

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 31-Jul-2006 09:17

lol. very informative link Juha :-) Also, I did google lesotho. Wikipedia has an informative entry about the place.

Re: Kenya - given the way that the NZ crowd showed massive support for Kenya at the last Wellington 7's at the Caketin, Kenya would be a great showcase to dredge up support from the average 7's like, Kenyan supporting, Wellington visiting kiwi.

Comment by sbiddle, on 31-Jul-2006 09:29

The article also raises an issue that Econet themselves haven't yet given a suitible answer to - why Econet really want to roll out a network in NZ when the African market is so big. Africa is a *huge* growing market for mobile phones, when I was there a couple of years ago there were mobile call boxes (essentially a shipping container with lots of regular phones hooked up GSM gear) everywhere in many countries as it's the main way for people to stay in touch. Why would a company that has networks in numerous African countries want to invest in NZ when they could be doing so much better staying in their home turf?

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 31-Jul-2006 11:44

Thats a really good point, and something I was alluding to in my story. They obviously have a knack for what they do, but New Zealand doesnt seem to fit the model (from an outsiders perspective) of what they do now. Sure, the NZ mobile market is huge, and there is growth potential, but lets face it, every man and his dog has a mobile phone, and now the focus is shifting to other services delivered via 3G, including streaming video/tv, music, and internet access. Is Econet going to have the resources to partner up with content providers in the same way that Telecom and Vodafone are doing, in fact does Econet even have the interest to do that?

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