ECONET Wireless, the country’s largest telecommunications group, has raised the entire funding for its expansion programme to increase network capacity to 1,2 million subscribers and is now waiting for contractors and suppliers to complete the work.
Econet awarded contracts to Ericsson of Sweden and ZTE of China to supply the network equipment.
Ericsson is providing equipment to expand the core network which is made up of the switching systems, Intelligent Network platforms, prepaid systems, as well as new base stations in Harare, Mashonaland and Manicaland.
ZTE will supply radio base stations for the southern part of the country, covering such areas as Bulawayo urban. It will also cover Masvingo, Midlands and Matabeleland provinces.
The Chinese company will also build new sites in remote rural areas as well as along the national highways.
The company’s chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni said the funds for the project had been put in place and work on construction was at an advanced stage.
“Local contractors are now putting up towers which had been disrupted by the price cutting exercise. In addition to the more than 300 base stations already operational, Econet has identified more than 240 additional sites where it is building base stations countrywide,” said Mboweni.
Econet is expanding capacity from 800 000 to 1,2 million subscribers by February next year.
“We know a lot of companies have taken the view that expansion is out of the question until the economy turns around. We believe that unless companies like ours lead the way there will be no turnaround in this economy,” Mboweni said. — Staff Writer.