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Econet invests US$66m on network upgrade

22 August 2023

LISTED telecoms giant, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has invested US$66 million on network modernisation that saw 22 5G base stations and the commissioning of 80 new base stations providing additional coverage and capacity

Econet says it has a strong platform to anchor a transition to a fully-fledged digital services provider. Exploiting 4G and 5G network-enabled opportunities will be key to keeping abreast with emerging global trends and improving service delivery, group chairman Dr James Myers said in the 2023 Integrated Report. “The business invested US$ 66 million as part of its network modernisation programme. Network expansion and upgrades remain imperative to support business sustainability, which has been hampered by several years of under-investment, due to ongoing macro-economic challenges,” said Dr Myers.

Dr Myers said network expansion and upgrades remain imperative to support business sustainability, which has been hampered by several years of under-investment, due to ongoing macro-economic challenges. “In order to stay abreast of technological advancements and better serve our customers, we added twenty-two (22) 5G base stations during the year. We remain the only network in the country with 5G technology.

“We are the only network certified to support Apple devices. Our 5G and network modernisation roll-out plan will increase access to newer technologies such as virtual, augmented, and mixed reality, ultra-high-definition video (UHD) streaming, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“To meet the growing demand for both voice and data traffic, we commissioned eighty (80) new base stations providing additional coverage and capacity. We commenced the deployment of a new modern core network with new generation cloud capabilities,” Dr Myers said.

Econet’s customer base reached 16,3 million with 10 million active customers. 

In his report, group chief executive officer, Dr Douglas Mboweni said in the period under review, Econet partnered with Ericsson, ZTE and Huawei to launch 5G services, becoming the country’s first telecom operator to turn on the latest energy-efficient and high-performing Radio Access Network (RAN) and 5G Evolved Packet Core (EPC) solution.

“We have made significant progress in opening up new opportunities for our consumer and business user experiences with significantly faster network speeds through adopting the latest updates in 4G and 5G technology.

“Improving our network’s capacity and resilience, as well as expanding connectivity in rural areas, will remain strategic in the future. On the 4G front, we connected more than 130 sites with fast and reliable internet connection as part of the “Tasimudza Ma Levels,” an ambitious campaign to connectivity to every corner of Zimbabwe.”

Dr Mboweni said Econet has “an ambitious plan in the pipeline to upgrade the entire Harare, Bulawayo, and Mutare networks, which result in the upgrade and installation of 1 000 sites across the country. In the period under review, we installed twenty-two (22) 5G base stations, initially targeting Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, and Mutare, with more sites in the pipeline,” Dr Mboweni said.