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Telecel Zim subscriber numbers hit 2.2 million

By , Journalist
Zimbabwe , 19 Sep 2012

Telecel Zim subscriber numbers hit 2.2 million

Active subscribers on mobile operator Telecel Zimbabwe’s network have surged to 2.2 million, according to the company.

And the firm’s chief executive officer, Francis Mawindi, says an intensive network expansion and upgrade program could boost the company’s network user numbers to 2.67 million by the end of the year.

“Network and capacity expansion would increase Telecel’s subscriber base to 2.67 million from 2,2 million by December,” said Mawindi.

Telecel is Zimbabwe’s second largest mobile company. Its subscriber numbers have in the past few months been boosted by a promotion that gives network users bonus airtime equivalent to the amount topped up.

The company has also knocked down the prices of its SIM cards, which cost 50 cents each while other network providers sell their sim cards between $1 and $5.

Mawindi said Telecel is planning a massive network expansion drive, which could see the setting up of 200 new base stations by December. This, he said, could result in network coverage of about 85% of Zimbabwe.

“By the end of the year, we expect to have completed the installation of base stations at more than 200 new sites, bringing to more than 575 the number of base station sites we have,” he added.

The network expansion project comes in the wake of a $70 million capital injection by Russian mobile service provider Vimpelcom. The network expansion is expected to take up about $35 million of the funding availed.

Vimpelcom controls a significant interest in Telecel after snapping up a bigger interest in Egypt’s Orascom, the majority shareholder in Telecel Zimbabwe.

Obert Mandimika, an executive with the company, said Telecel has invested in data services on the back of successful take up of such services by subscribers.

Data services on Telecel’s network, he said, are accessible through 2G base stations that the company has been setting up. Interestingly, revenue from data services has surpassed that of SMSs and account for 4.2% of the company’s total revenue. The company expects this trend to continue.

“We are also putting in back-up transmission links, so that, if a link fails, the standby link can be used, minimising any downtime and facilitating continuous network availability,” said Mawindi.

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