While Europe is up in arms against tech giants that use their monopolistic power to favour their products, in Zimbabwe where the government is napping on the wheel exhausted by the crisis, anything can fly. So we have Econet pushing its Sasai app using questionable means.
If you are an Econet customer you probably know what I mean. Every subscribers is occasionally or regularly and relentlessly subjected to a barrage of shameless messages telling them to download Sasai.
Then there are the shameless net-neutrality violations one of the perks of downloading Sasai is that you will get free data. That’s not a privilege you get when you download any other app.
Technically Sasai isn’t even owned by Econet Zimbabwe anymore. It’s owned by Cassava Smartech, which is supposed to be a separate entity which spun off from Econet. We were all made to believe the two would have a close but separate relationship. Right now, if Econet and Cassava Smartech were humans, they would be conjoined twins who share a body. Two heads leading down to the same body.
The reason why its 50% cheaper to use Sasai is that Econet, a supposedly separate company, deliberately made it so. In their latest data and SMS bundle hike, Econet made sure Sasai is cheaper, a transparent attempt to exploit people’s economic hardships and steer them towards Sasai.
The market just ain’t biting here is why
Despite the cow and goat competitions, the relentless barrage, the unsolicited phone calls, net neutrality violations, and adding fuel finder and Ecocash to the now chimera Sasai app, the market has not taken the bait.
It’s not even difficult to see why. The Sasai app, despite what Econet … sorry errr, Cassava would have you believe, brings no value to the customer. It doesn’t solve some pressing problem, and in fact, if people were to adopt in en masse, it would just fragment the chat app market.
People already use WhatsApp. It’s a global app. You can chat with your diaspora aunt without having to install another app. There are WhatsApp groups that allow you to find fuel that are crowdsourced and better maintained and people still use USSD when using Ecocash.
People just don’t need Sasai, Telegram, Wechat or Skype in Zimbabwe. Unless something catastrophic happens to WhatsApp in which case people will probably jump to Telegram, Sasai is not going to make a dent. No matter how much money is thrown into that pit.
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