Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (EWZ) has emerged as the country’s leading cellular telephone operating company in the country. Information made available by the company shows it has a subscriber base that exceeds 3 million subscribers in Zimbabwe.
In a statement released recently, EWZ Chief Executive Officer, Douglas Mboweni, said the company had exceeded the 3,1 million subscribers mark by the end of last year. Mboweni said Econet Wireless had anticipated strong demand for its products and services in the run up to the Christmas holidays.
This he said, had seem the network provider increase its capacity to more than 4 million subscribers on its various platforms.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe communications manager, Rangarirai Mberi said: “Therefore, the company made extensive preparations, which included boosting network capacity to over 4 million, and also importing tens of thousands of new phones. The company also expanded its dealer network across the country to improve availability of products, particularly SIM cards”.
Mberi described the growth of Econet as being one of the most spectacular on the African continent this year.
This time last year, the company had only 987,743 subscribers; this means the company, in just one year, has registered a growth of 204%.
“This massive growth has been made possible by the huge investment of US$250m that the company has undertaken over the past year. This investment represents the largest investment by any company, in any sector of the Zimbabwe economy, for over a decade. This has allowed the company to build its network, as well as introduce a wider range of new products and services that are not available on other networks“.
Meanwhile, another service provider, Telecel Zimbabwe also announced last year, it was embarking on expansion works aimed at boosting its service provision to the public.
Word on the market has it that Telecel Zimbabwe had entered into a joint partnership with a South African company, Celtel that saw the former getting investment to upgrade its network.
Celtel is yet to issue a public statement on the said merger.
Said Telecel Zimbabwe: “Telecel Zimbabwe would like to inform its subscribers and general members of the public that it has embarked on a project to upgrade its network with an aim of expanding capacity. The scope of works has been in two phases with the first phase basically targeting Harare and Bulawayo. In these two centres, we have been installing capacity by pulling out selected base stations and replacing them with high capacity equipment.
“The objective has been to eliminate any form of congestion. We are happy to announce that this exercise has been completed successfully and has resulted in the availability of 100.000 lines details of which will be provided in due course”.
The country’s third cellular services provider, NetOne has however been silent on its expansion programs. But sources close to the company said there were plans by the company to pull a fast one on its competitors.
“The company is obviously clear it can not afford to sit back and watch as companies as small as Telecel continue to upgrade their services. There are plans to launch services that would include release of new lines and upgrades of platforms so that NetOne becomes a major player and competitor in the market”, the source said.
By Themba Sibanda