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Econet upgrades network as data, voice demand surges

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Zimbabwe , 18 Jul 2023
Strive Masiyiwa, founder Econet Wireless Zimbabwe.
Strive Masiyiwa, founder Econet Wireless Zimbabwe.

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is deploying a virtualised core network to replace the current core network system in response to the demand for data and voice services.

The company announced the infrastructure buildout this week, saying the usage of voice and data for the quarter ended in May, grew by 30% and 31 %, respectively.

Zimbabwe’s largest telecom provider – founded by billionaire Strive Masiyiwa- reported performance for the quarter on Tuesday.

Econet said network upgrade enables it to launch additional products and services and implement faster product changes to enhance the customer experience.

For the period under review, the business upgraded 30% of Harare and 70% of the Bulawayo base station sites.

“This increase requires further investment into the platforms and systems that drive network capacity and capabilities. Our capital expenditure programme, which continues to be constrained by lack of availability of foreign currency to pay our suppliers over the next 12 months, is expected to be about US$ 135 million,” Econet said.

It added: “We have since seen an increase in the speed and volume of data consumed by our customers due to these upgrades.

“We also plan to upgrade our radio network in Harare, Bulawayo and Manicaland by the end of the 2023 calendar year.”

In addition, Econet said it has started deploying Business Support Systems in a phased manner, beginning with a new digital Know Your Customer platform.

It said: “The platform leverages digital identification, distribution, and other partner management services. This service enables convenient access for our customers to our digital ecosystem and partner services.

All digital ID subscribers will have the ability to engage in self-service activities on our platforms.”

Looking ahead, Econet said: “We expect the operating environment to remain challenging below-inflation tariff adjustments, FX headwinds and inflation. We, however, expect the demand for our services to remain robust.”

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