DEAR Strive Masiyiwa, a respected man of God, visionary entrepreneur and role-model for young and old alike.
It is as not a last resort that I write this letter, which I have had to make it open considering I have tried on two occasions, call it one too many, to get you via your Facebook page to at the very least delegate someone to hear my plea.
I can say this is not as a last resort as we are in a lawful sovereign country with enforceable rules and law and order, so I have other options, the long and winding legal route, or the short and sweet political way.
Something, however, tells me we are not going to have to go that far, hopefully.
Sir, you have done well, very innovative product research and development, vision in your expansion, both of new products and new geographic markets penetration. Congratulations.
However, I find it mind-boggling that you would be unaware of the three issues that I now bring to your attention.
The three issues are firstly that airtime vanishes mysteriously, without explicit use, on data-enabled handsets connected to your network.
The second issue I have is that there is no clear explanation when one makes an inquiry. If you call twice you get differing very vague explanations, somehow revolving around two things, android (even if you repeat many times as I did, that you are not on android) and auto update.
Of course if you are, as I was, lucky enough to eventually get someone who understands your logical process of explanation, problem elimination, you are then firmly informed that you accepted the terms and conditions when you signed up. Ouch!
The third issue, kind Sir, is that, whatever real and maybe even plausible explanation there may or may not be for it, there is absolutely no attempt by your company to pre-emptively help your subscribers avoid this hideous phenomenon.
If I was not brought up in a non-confrontational family environment, I would be asking to your face how you could possibly sleep at night, as a God-fearing, actually even affectionately called man of God, self-made entrepreneur who should relate to the daily socioeconomic struggles that the people of Zimbabwe are faced with daily? But I won’t.
I will simply ask, again, how is it possible that you may not know about this problem? If you do, what have you thought to do about it?
You could maybe, incorrectly feel that it is not your problem, that you cannot possibly spend money to reduce your revenue generated, but I, as a small voice of reason, would urge you to rather see it as spending on socially-responsible and ethical businessing.
I would dare even call it an investment, for if you do that, your brand immediately stands out as the one that cares, displays great ethics and thus saves subscribers money.
What if, then, it turns out it is nothing to do specifically with Econet? Although I cannot speak of other local networks as I am basing this letter on personal experience and not hearsay, I can safely say, on the same phone, without changing a thing, if I insert a Telkom mobile, Vodacom, MTN or Cell-C SIM card, whatever airtime credit there is stays put.
For as long as the line is in service, I can literally keep the same airtime credit balance for months! So, suffice it to say the following, as facts:
Econet is, very close to fraudulently, definitely inappropriately, benefiting from the phenomenon of vanishing airtime credit on some, if not all, data-enabled handsets.
I say this because the poor subscriber would not have consciously used the airtime credit, yet it vanishes. We cannot say it has nothing to do with the network because on other countries’ networks, across the Limpopo for instance, it does not happen.
You either know about this and have thus far felt there is nothing wrong with it, and you are still working on it, or will work on it someday, or you simply were not aware of it. So you either know about it or you do not, simple as that.
If you do not know about it, now, sir, you know. However, it is hard to believe that for, surely, even on your own phone or of the people that are around you like personal employees, someone would no doubt by now have experienced this atrocity.
If you do know about it and have thus far done nothing about it, how would you live with yourself?
No, I still will not ask how you do sleep at night as a God-fearing and believing man, for that is as good as stealing from the poor!