Quantum leap for Econet-(08-02-07

HARARE - Econet has announced that it will introduce 10 digit numbers for all its subscribers at the end of February which will allow the operator to increase its subscriber base to above one million. Currently all cell phone numbers in Zimbabwe have 9 digits.
A spokesman said Econet would change

its suffix “091” to “0912” for existing and new subscribers, and it will carry out a major education campaign to inform its customers about the change. “Prior, during and after the change, we will carry out a major campaign to inform and educate our customers about this change and its benefits to them,” he said.
“The change, which has been granted regulatory approval, is already being implemented by the company. It is quite a complicated process because the network has to reprogram all its switches and also get operators around the world to do the same,” the spokesman said.
He said that work on the upgrade to 10 digit numbers had already started because Econet was running out of numbers in the current range it was allocated when the company started operations in July 1998.
“Unless we do this we will run out of numbers within the next three months. Ten digits will allow us to reach 10 million subscribers if necessary,” he said.
At the time cell phones were introduced in Zimbabwe no one expected that an operator would ever reach a million subscribers so the 9 digit range was given for each operator.
With a 10 digit range, the spokesman said Econet could theoretically have 10 million subscribers. Econet is however not the first operator in the world to face this challenge; even in South Africa, operators have had to upgrade to higher digit numbers because of unexpected growth in the market.

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