As we progress, our mobile phones increasingly become an important part of our lives. The use we now have for them is amazing. In fact, you should just try and take account of how dependent you are on your mobile phone or simple, just get it stolen ;0 Nonetheless, the idea is; based on how much we rely on our phones, it only makes sense for startups, businesses, companies etc. to leverage on that fact for their products.
In Zimbabwe, because of the relatively lower internet penetration compared to some first world countries, making use of USSD compared to mobile applications sounds more ideal. The last report we got from POTRAZ reported a 49% internet penetration in Zimbabwe (it’s a decline actually from the previous quarter, Q1, but that’s a story for another day). Also, another factor to consider is the prevalence of the smartphones within the country, I mean it wouldn’t make sense to develop a product which people can’t access right?
Anyway, Africalotto, a trust dedicated to “developing a nationwide lottery system that offers the majority of people the best opportunity to play lotto and win a lot of money” (in their own words), has partnered with Econet to provide the options of playing lotto using an USSD code.
To play, dial *515# from an Econet line and agree to the terms and conditions of registering. Thereafter, you will receive an SMS with your pin code that you will be prompted to input after dialing *515# again to play. You can then select whichever game you want to play from the list. Each game has a different price and once you select the game, Africalotto deducts the amount from your airtime balance and that’s about the only time you are going to be charged for using the service.
Also, important to note is that you need to be 18 years or older to play; just as when playing lotto on an offline platform.–techzim