The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Telecel Spreads Its Wings

Telecel has intensified its ongoing network expansion programme, which should see 85 percent of the country covered by the end of the year, Telecel Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Francis Mawindi has said. Speaking at the official opening of Telecel's new Bulawayo office, Mr Mawindi said in the Matabeleland region alone, the company had already added 21 new base stations to its network.

"Telecel is committed to promoting mobile communication throughout the length and breadth of the country," he said.

He said the company was this year investing US$70 million countrywide. In addition to erecting new base stations, it was in the process of opening new offices in various parts of the country.

The company was keen to use local suppliers whenever it could. It had made a point of not only utilising local suppliers for its office furnishings and décor but of often engaging the services of ordinary street artists in order to utilise their talent and boost their earnings, he said.

Officially opening the new office, the Governor of Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Ambassador Cain Mathema, praised Telecel for going out of its way to make mobile phone communication available to ordinary Zimbabweans.

"I'm sure we all remember the ridiculous prices that people used to have to pay for cellphone lines, which were often only available on the black market," he said.

"Telecel changed all that in early 2010 when it slashed the price of its SIM cards and of the mobile phones that it included in its starter packs.

"Suddenly, almost overnight, even the lowest paid workers were able to afford a mobile phone line and a handset," he said.

Governor Mathema pointed out that this and other price reductions by Telecel, including its reduction in the price of calls to major international destinations to the levels as the cost of a local call, had introduced for the first time real competition within the mobile telecommunications industry, leading to a general lowering of prices and a better deal for everyone.

He said mobile phones had changed the way people interact not only locally but globally.

"In this day and age everyone should be able to benefit from the new and rapidly developing opportunities that mobile telecommunications offer," he said.

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