Econet invests Z$700 billion

HARARE - Despite Zimbabwe's worsening economic climate, the country's largest mobile network operator Econet Wireless this week said it has spent over Z$700 billion to expand its network which now has more than 450 000 customers, and plans to commit more resources to meet the growing demand for its

products and services.
Chairman Tawanda Nyambirai said in a statement to shareholders that Econet was not resting on this success and intended to continue to acquire and develop new base station sites across the country to further expand its network, whose customer base of 457 228 as at the end of February 2006 exceeds the combined total customers of the other two cellular and fixed network operators, the state-run NetOne and Telone and the privately owned Telecel.
“The company remains committed to its network development program,” Nyambirai said, adding that during the eight months to the end of February, Econet had commissioned 42 additional base stations and upgraded a number of existing sites, while several new radio transmission links had been completed, further improving reliability of the network. In addition, capacity upgrades were made to the pre-paid platform and the text messaging system, which is now the fastest in the country in terms of message delivery and compares favorably with those of global operators.
He said the subscriber base had grown by 77 percent, from 258 268 as at June 30 last year to 457 228 as of the end of February this year, with 80 percent of the growth coming from the hybrid pre-paid contract brand, Libertie. “The growth in subscriber numbers (has) further strengthened Econet’s leadership position with a 59 percent share of the (Zimbabwe) mobile market,” he said.
“The business has adopted an infrastructure development strategy to secure all local currency based materials and civil works so as to minimize project cost escalations and delays associated with the erratic foreign currency market. The group continues to pro-actively manage the adverse effects of foreign currency shortages, fuel and power outages on both service delivery and infrastructure projects,” he said.
Among other measures, Econet has invested in additional diesel generators and other power back-up devices to reduce the impact of frequent electricity outages being experienced in the country. – Own Correspondent

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