Company Profile

Comm Shop is about cellular service. How can we help you? Airtime, Data, Nokia and Samsung phones. It is Zimbabwean owned and run.

Mobile Connectivity is the company specifically dealing with distributing prepaid products – for now, only cellular airtime. It used Zimbabwean vision and skills to developed the business and software. It is still Zimbabwean owned, operates efficiently and for the benefit of our customers.

The Vision

Hot Recharge was born out of the desire to provide an additional source of income for the average Zimbabwean worker struggling to afford even commuter fees in the late 90’s. The company’s founders had a desire to enable Zimbabweans to supplement their income, in an efficient cost-effective way. We saw the opportunity to supplement their income with electronic Airtime distribution.

The Mission

To create a product that is accessible to all nationwide. That is easy to use. That makes a good profit for the reseller’s additional income. And to do it for the least possible on-going costs

We chose to collect money through banks with the widest branch network. We are the most advanced online users at most of these banks, pushing them to give us new interfaces and better online nationwide services.

We chose to use SMS to sell airtime electronically – that means no paper involved, no rubbish, no theft and no distribution cost. Everyone who needs airtime has a phone! They know how to use it. SMSing is simple and fast. We can do it for free by getting the agreement of the cellular networks.

To make the best experience for our reseller’s end customer, we got a network to agree to develop direct recharge methods.

12 years ago we developed the software, the servers and connections to put it all together.

HOT Recharge was born. It’s HOT because its fast, its clever, its new technology and it works great. It’s Recharge because it gives you a boost up!

New resellers register via SMS, deposit their cash in one of our banks, sell and make commission automatically. They can add friends or sub-agents and control these daily.

We have been running continuously for 10 years now with less than 48 hours total downtime. We have done 4 complete re-writes, producing some of the most efficient software in the country capable of 10000 transactions per hour.

Did we reach our goal? Always and continuously, we help thousands of Zimbabweans to make extra cash and become financially independent or just be able to enjoy a little extra every month. And we are excited to be the first, fastest and best.

HOT Recharge for Corporates

Could we help companies in the same way? What do they want? Companies with many employees using prepaid lines need audit controls, easy to follow transactions, VAT invoices and to do an emergency top up occasionally.

So we married the internet and SMS.

A company registers is online via our website, Usually the financial director or accountant are responsible for this. They can add email or SMS account users.

Payments happen in the same way, either cash delivered to our office, deposited into one of our banks, or transferred. As soon as the money reflects, it is credited to the company account with us, we then send out a VAT invoice and receipt by email.

The employees are registered as subscribers. A Recharge page allows the company to select employees with one click (whether one or many) and recharge them all one same amount. The process is repeated for other employees needing other amounts.

A transaction page gives history of successful recharges for any combination of dates and subscribers. This can be downloaded in excel or pdf format if needed. Unnamed subscribers are immediately obvious in the reports. Abuse and fraud are kept to a minimum with traceable transactions.

As a backup and for emergencies a recharge can be initiated by SMS by any of the trusted account users (not any employee).

Are we doing it right? All the corporate customers we have so far think so. But we are open to requests, we wrote it so we can change it.

What's Next

Without giving too much away, we are bringing promotions and premium SMS to Zimbabweans who want game shows and competitions and other prepaid products. We are integrating our system to other innovative people who would love to use SMS and Airtime in their products.

What's so special about HOTRecharge

HOT Recharge is a Zimbabwean software product made to help Mr Average get ahead. The business model needed is unique to Africa and so is an appropriate African solution. It makes no rubbish, there is no waste. There is no hardware, POS device, etc to buy to join, just a cell phone needed. It is one of the lowest entry cost self-start businesses available. It was the first and people still copy it. Used by over 90 000 people repeatedly.

The Boring Details

They told us that we have to include this stuff so we did, but we are greater than the sum of our parts. Comm Shop was licensed by Mobile Connectivity to carry on its business using its agreements and software when it received one of the first FOLIWARS licenses issued by the RBZ in 2008.

Years Company has been in business 11 Mobile Connectivity, 5 Comm Shop
Annual Turnover(US$) > $1 000 000
No. of Fulltime Employees 4
Company Registration Number 3929/2001 and 3538/2007
Country of Registration Zimbabwe
Ownership 100% Zimbabwean

Mobile Connectivity have been developing this business for 11 years. Agreements have been obtained with all 3 cellular networks to sell their airtime, and ZimSwitch to be able to switch financial transactions between participating banks. Agreements are in place for receipting of cash with 3 banks with large national presence. Software is housed in secure locations, with backup power and disaster recovery. Our existing solutions are already recognised by the industry as the leaders in terms of: ease of use, highest speed of transaction completion, reliability of operation, trusted by networks and resellers.

Mobile Connectivity has directors with relevant skills :
  1. In IT - Harold Muvuti, Winsys Corp, aMALAK
  2. In software Development - Geoffrey Sexon, Sexon Technologies
  3. Original vision and daily management - Kurt Rietz, BSC (EE) Hons, also a director of several other companies and trusts including ZESA, Vision 2040, Miracle Missions Trust, Stephen Properties and Comm Shop.

Comm Shop is licensed by Mobile Connectivity to carry on its business and has the following directors

Harold Muvuti (Chairman), Kurt Rietz (MD), Pauline Rietz 

The business's own model is built very thin with minimal operating staff. Major initiatives are outsourced to appropriate individuals. Most transactions are automated using software. Staff are mainly employed in accounting and reporting.

The advantages of HOT Recharge are that
  1. The reseller can pay at more than 80 bank outlets nationwide and receive immediate value
  2. The reseller does not have to keep stock, or choose what types and values of stock to keep. All sales are fulfilled from an electronic central store. No "dead stock" for the reseller.
  3. New products take minutes to add.
  4. No distribution times or lags
  5. Transaction speed is usually less than 25 seconds.
  6. No wasted paper or rubbish
  7. No additional investment for the resellers in expensive POS machinery, the cellphone is all they need
  8. The business is mobile, can done while travelling and in any location with cellular coverage. It can be moved at will.
  9. Remote transactions are possible between trusted parties of the reseller - Airtime or Credit can be sent to people in remote locations with payment settled later (for example between family members).
  10. SMS transactions are free, not charged for.
  11. Product is widely trusted in the industry and by clients.
  12. Change is not required for purchases as electronic amounts are exact, airtime sales can be made in one cent increments in the case of one network, Econet, so that it may even fulfil the function of giving change.

The Environment

Hot Recharge and HOT Banking are completely electronic systems. To this end, the environment is positively affected:

  • by reducing the quantity of paper and card consumed in printing printing physical prepaid vouchers and manual bank forms, impacting on deforestation.
  • by reducing the significant amount of waste and litter generated by printing physical prepaid vouchers
  • by reducing physical travelling, less carbon fuels are used in banking and prepaid recharge transactions. This extends to less movement of cash by banks and cards by networks too.

The system does not have any additional negative impact on the environment:

  • It is low energy usage and
  • creates no waste products Competing Electronic Voucher dispensing systems still use printed paper for the vouchers.