Zimbabwe: Network Investment Helps Econet Remain On Top

12 June 2019

The more than one billion US-dollar investment that Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has made in its mobile network infrastructure continues to pay off, despite the strong economic headwinds in the business operating environment.

The Zimbabwean economy has been going through one of its most challenging economic spells, with shortage of foreign currency topping many other difficulties facing business and industry.

Foreign currency shortages have seen some businesses, such as established mining company RioZim and beverages giant Delta Corporation suspend or scale back some operations, at some point as they struggled to import raw materials and key equipment.

But despite the challenges, Econet has continued to offer a reliable and reasonable quality of service, largely owing to steady investments it made over the years.

According to a 2018 consumer satisfaction survey, commissioned and released last week by telecoms regulator Potraz, Econet is used by 89% of household consumers and 88% of corporate consumers as the network of choice.

The mobile network giant, announcing the half year results last year, for its financial year ending February 2019, said it had invested over US$1.4 billion into the business since 2009.

The investment has allowed the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed company to upgrade its network infrastructure to offer the latest technologies, such as 4G (LTE) hence becoming the preferred network for business users.

The company also commands the widest network coverage for 3G and LTE, available in most major cities, according to recent quarterly telecom sector reports from Potraz.

Such investments have allowed Econet to remain the preferred network of choice around the country.

Market watchers say Econet has maintained its leadership despite the current economic hardships because of the foresight the company had in racing to expand and upgrade its network.

"Econet had the foresight to continuously invest and upgrade its network, and this has served the company well, considering the challenges the economy now faces in accessing foreign currency," said a telecoms analyst.

The very high usage of Econet's services by both corporate and consumer customers also pointed to a relevant and balanced product portfolio mix by the telecom company, the analyst said.

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