VAS entrepreneur takes Telecel to court over Mega Promo

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The local mobile VAS company which, last month threatened to sue Telecel over what it said was stolen VAS concept, has just done so. A report in the Herald today says Mobile Connexion has filed a lawsuit in the High Court against Telecel.

The lawsuit is an escalation of the matter by Mobile Connexion after Telecel refused to yield to a demand for $340,000 settlement for using a concept they had ‘stolen’.

The concept in question is the Mega Promo service that Telecel launched in September and is currently still running. Mobile Connexion claims that the concept, including the name, were stolen from them by Telecel. According to Mobile Connexion, they introduced the concept to Telecel via a proposal in a view to have the mobile operator run the service with them. Mobile Connexion also claims that Telecel agreed to the proposal.

In the lawsuit  Peterson Tengende, the Mobile Connexion CEO, and Trumbelt Computers (Pvt) Limited (Mobile Connexion is the trading name) are the first and second plaintiff respectively. In addition to the $340,000, Mobile Connexion is also seeking to have the Mega Promo promotion stopped.

For its part Telecel claims that their parent company already had the concept running in other markets and that it’s a generic one that many mobile operators have already implemented.

While such disputes between mobile operators and VAS companies are not uncommon, Mobile Connexion is one of the few companies that has proceeded to take a mobile operator to court over the matter. The case is bound to provide precedent to such disputes in future.


  1. Sam Takunda

    It’s quite complicated if you ask me. Of course we can say it wasn’t anew idea and all that. But what idea really is new? I think credit is deserved for making someone aware of an idea. The greater world appreciates that which is why you see startups partnering up with other startups instead of doing what the other party suggested themselves. I know this isn’t an argument to be used in court, but you get my point.

  2. Gibs

    The fact that a proposal was drafted and forwarded to Telecel who went on to introduce that promotion must be good enough to convince the learned judge that it was a stolen idea not necessarily to say new idea!

  3. Robasta

    telecel are saying they were already pursuing the idea (only they know for sure),but are they also saying they had already chosen the name Mega Promo?

  4. chanyane

    If telecel adopted the name as well, then they have a lot to answer for. If not, they might get away with it.

    1. tinm@n

      I think so too. Other than that, Mobile Connexion would be lucky if judge rules in their favour or has empathy for small guy being cheated by big guy. But such stuff happens in business. If you have not put binding agreements in place, it may be difficult to argue, legally.

  5. Time

    I am 1000% behind telecel. I sort of understand where they are coming
    from. Case in point? I’m working on a new website for the domestic
    market and when I happened to google the name I’d come up for it, it had
    already been taken, and was along the same lines of the website I’m
    creating! So is this theivery? No. Just 2 people happened to share the
    same idea and may the person with the best product in the end win.

    Now I know these guys said they pitched the product to Telecel but the fact is it was already active in other countries as discussed in a previous article and Telecel has the funds for an experienced marketing department that may have had the idea like this in the pipe-line. Sure the marketing department may have “drawn-inspiration” from these guys pitch but then is that now a basis to sue? Its like MySpace suing facebook because Facebook happened to outdo them at social networking though they thought they had it right the first time?

  6. fairplay

    People don’t Be FOOLED – most human beings are not Psychic there is not way you are going to build something and “meanwhile in Zimbabwe” someone is doing the exact same thing you are doing – PLEASE!!! wake up. When ever you present something to these Big Companies they always Say – “just so you know we are working on a similar product” its in their Company handbooks. You think if they where really working on their similar product they would CARE to hear about yours??????? Its a capitalistic Mentality where if we can do something, the same thing (even if its a bit crappier than the original) then lets do that, because PERFECTION, FAIRPLAY, HONOUR . . . . . . . . . . . . for who, for what – lets just get this paper.

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