Econet: a success story

Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe's largest mobile phone operator, raked in $74million after-tax profit in the first half of this year.

During the same period last year, Econet, which has boosted its subscribers to 5.5 million from 4.6 million in the six months, earned $64.3million, a 16 percent growth in revenue.

The mobile phone operator, which rolled out a $100million broadband Internet service last year, said its total assets increased dramatically in the period under review. Econet said in a financial statement that it had snapped almost 1 million new subscribers in the six months.

Revenues shot up 24 percent to $290.9 million, from $235.5 million last year. Telecom firms have expanded rapidly over the past two and half years in Zimbabwe, where mobile phones lagged well behind other developing countries.

Econet, run by exiled Zimbabwean entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa, is Zimbabwe's largest mobile operator by subscribers and revenue ahead of Telecel, the Orascom unit, and state-owned Net*One.

The company said it had pumped $470 million into its network expansion. Econet is enjoying 70 percent share of Zimbabwe's mobile phone network, and recently launched a money transfer scheme to wire cash to the rural areas, where over 60 percent of Zimbabweans reside. Econet has become Zimbabwe's unparalleled success story.

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