Amid growing calls for mobile network providers to reduce their charges, a new African telecommunications outfit, Greydot Telecoms, has entered the market and is already shaking the industry with its affordable calls and finance technology solutions.
The Botswana-based company is a fintech and multi-purpose platform that includes telecommunications, payments and value added services such as virtual meetings, a virtual call centre, advertising, mobile banking and payments. The Chairman of Greydot, Christ Phaladze, characterises the company as a hybrid telecom operator that provides next generation digital network services and modern-day problem solutions.
“The network or platform can also be described as a cloud-based ecosystem,” he said in an interview. “The platform is in two distinct parts, a telephone service and a dynamic multipurpose wallet. The secret to being the cheapest telecommunications provider lies in the fact that our whole business is Internet-based and has no terrestrial technology such as the towers that other mobile network providers use.
“This aspect of the platform offers a digital mobile telephone service that rivals conventional offerings by the GSM networks. Instead of having terrestrial infrastructure in the form of cables, towers and expensive generators, our infrastructure sits purely in the cloud. It is a next generation technology that will be propelled to global prominence by 2022 when SpaceX and its European competitors will have implemented a blanket cover of Internet over Africa and the rest of the world.”
The service offers clear digital calls at a flat rate globally. The network has global interconnection with India-based telecommunications giant, Tata Communications, which allows delivery of calls to any number, mobile or fixed, of 170 countries worldwide and at a flat rate of 35t or 3 US cents a minute.
The company is presently operational in Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, the DRC and Kenya. Phaladze says Greydot’s is a super multi-purpose wallet that provides an unlimited way of conducting financial transactions. “We can do third-party payment processing in territories where we don’t have the requisite licences, like in Zimbabwe where we have a five-year contract with the City Council of Bulawayo to collect payments for their services on their behalf from their customers.
“We also have a voucher system that allows us to send money or payments locally and across borders in the form of foodstuffs, goods and so on. An example is what we are doing for Zimbabweans living in Botswana and South Africa. They simply load their Greydot wallet at any of the 75 000 outlets where we are found in South Africa – Shoprite/Checkers, Game, Macro, Pep, Caltex, Spar, Pick n Pay and Boxer via OTT in the townships and anywhere else. In the case of Zimbabweans in Botswana, it is at Spar, Shoprite, USave, and soon at Pep.
“After loading the wallet, you have the option of transferring some of the funds to airtime or of making payments to whomever might be sitting on our platform, such as your Edgars, DStv, utility service companies, private schools, funeral insurances, metshelo societies and so on.”