Prophet Shepherd Bushiri – whose website claims he has brought a ‘dead boy back to life’ and ‘healed’ an HIV positive couple – is launching a mobile network this weekend.
The new mobile venture, dubbed PSB Network, is backed by Prophet Shepherd Bushiri (PSB) Ministries, which claims to have around two million followers.
PSB Network officially launches on Saturday September 17 and is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) enabled by local telecoms firm MVN-X.
MVN-X has helped launch other local MVNOs such as me&you mobile, Mr Price Mobile, and BokSel that run atop other networks. Cell C then is the underlying network for PSB Network.
PSB Network is targeting 50 000 subscribers over the next year and has already signed up 5 000 customers, said the mobile venture’s commercial director Dave Wheatley.
“The prophet is forever looking at things and opportunities whereby he benefits his community, and one of the things that obviously came up was mobile connectivity,” Wheatley told Fin24.
“And he saw it as a way of communicating to his congregation.
“I think that’s the main rationale behind it. He obviously also had various other ideas around the other big networks not being the most competitive,” Wheatley said.
The majority of PSB Network’s congregation also come from a lower income group and are looking for competitive data and voice rates, said Wheatley.
Other promotions on offer from the network will include receiving a free prayer for a R10 airtime purchase.
PSB Network further plans to launch an app planned to market networking opportunities, and even plumbing services offered by members of the congregation.
The PSB mobile network is just the latest venture by Bushiri as he is already said to have launched a Zambian mining company, a stock brokerage and even a university in South Sudan.
Prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s website also showcases a number of ‘miracles’.
One blog post on the prophet’s website says that a couple went from testing positive for HIV to testing negative after visiting Bushiri.
Another blog post on the Bushiri’s website talks of the “story of the dead boy coming back to life” at one of the church’s services.
Wheatley was not willing to comment on the veracity of Bushiri’s miracle claims.
“I am a Christian. So, it’s not for me to judge,” Wheatley told Fin24.
“All I know is the guy is honourable; he does a lot of charitable work throughout Africa,” Wheatley told Fin24.
“There are some sceptics out there. I’m very focused on the job at hand. I think we can bring value to the community,” Wheatley said.