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Econet’s network takes strain as forex shortage hits hard

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Zimbabwe , 17 Aug 2021

Zimbabwe telco, Econet Wireless says its network is taking strain due to increased use and adoption of digital platforms, and efforts to bolster capacity are being hampered by limited access to foreign currency.

COVID-19 related lockdown and restricted movement has driven the increased uptake of digital platforms.

Econet said its data and voice traffic volumes increased by 77% and 25% respectively during the quarter to the end of May 2021.

This pressure on the network has resulted in connectivity issues and subscribers took to social media to vent their frustration.

“@econet_support what is the use of social media without media? No photos no videos voice notes can’t download! What is the use of buying bundles without these? Aaahhhhh everything just takes forever to load. I can’t even transact on my apps, your EcoCash is down. What’s going on guys,” reads a message Tweeted by a subscriber on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe, which uses a foreign currency auction system, continues to struggle with forex shortages that have affected many businesses, including telecommunication companies which have to pay for vendor licensing and equipment imports.

Econet defended its position and the problems with its network stating: “Despite the lack of adequate investment due to challenges in accessing foreign currency our connectivity has facilitated educational, social, economic and other opportunities to our customers. Nonetheless, more investment is necessary to allow us to meet the increasing needs of subscribers."

Econet is also pushing for a tariff review.

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