(Ecofin Agency) - Econet Wireless controls 67% of the Zimbabwean telecom market. To improve its services and strengthen its leading position, it wants to accelerate the modernization of its network.
Telecom operator Econet Wireless Zimbabwe recently inked a new partnership agreement with Swedish technology company Ericsson to upgrade its network infrastructure across Zimbabwe. The agreement was signed last Tuesday, on the sidelines of the ongoing Mobile World Congress.
With that partnership, the operator wants to accelerate the modernization of its network. It is also planning for the expansion of its 5G coverage. The agreement includes upgrading Econet's existing 2G, 3G, and 4G (LTE) networks with Ericsson's latest multi-band, multi-sector 5G radios. It also covers the provision of cloud infrastructure solutions, the modernization of the Circuit Switch Core, and the introduction of IP Multimedia System (IMS) for Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi).
It comes just a year after Econet Wireless deployed its commercial 5G services in Harare with technical expertise from Ericsson and ZTE. The ultra-broadband deployment is part of the company's long-term strategy to improve customer experience and meet their expectations.
In 2021, the company entered into a telecom network expansion race with rival NetOne, deploying and upgrading 3G and 4G sites and installing 5G infrastructure. For the time being, it is the only operator providing ultra-broadband services in Zimbabwe. It is currently using a test spectrum made available by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), which plans to release 5G spectrum in the coming months to allow every operator to launch the 5G and accelerate digital transformation.
“ Powering several digital technologies, 5G will play a pivotal role in realizing many of the goals outlined in the Smart Zimbabwe 2030 agenda, notably in smart industrialization. Working alongside Ericsson, we aspire to build a high-performing 5G network that will not only deliver high connectivity but also support industrial and societal advancements in Zimbabwe,” said Econet deputy CEO Roy Chimanikire (photo, left).
The planned investment is expected to enable Econet to improve its network coverage and the quality of the services it provides to subscribers. It is also expected to strengthen its position in the domestic market, where it controls a 67 percent share -according to Q3-2022 data published by regulator POTRAZ. Thanks to the projects, the operator can also generate additional revenue by tapping into the growing demand for broadband connectivity.
Isaac K. Kassouwi