ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe’s subscriber base now exceeds 400 000, making the company the biggest telecommunications provider in the country.
Econet, whose subscribe
r base now exceeds the combined customer base of its two mobile competitors, is also now bigger than the fixed telephone operator, TelOne, which claims to have 350 000 subscribers.
A spokesman said the company has added more than 150 000 new subscribers in the last six months which is more than the entire subscriber base of Telecel, its smallest competitor in the market. Econet is also the largest provider of community pay phones which provide access to about 350 000 people a month, mostly for low income communities.
The company, which currently has a capacity of 500 000 subscribers, says it will fill up this capacity early in 2006. However, further capacity will require another major foreign currency injection.The spokesman said that it was not surprising that Econet is now bigger than TelOne because it is line with global trends.
“In every country where we operate we are bigger than the fixed line operator. In Botswana, Mascom is five times bigger than Botswana Telcoms Corporation. In Zimbabwe it has taken us this long because of foreign currency constraints,” the spokesman said. He predicted that all the cellphone operators will eventually be bigger than TelOne because the technology was much more flexible.
As a public company, Econet has thousands of shareholders, as almost everyone in Zimbabwe who is a member of a pension fund owns shares in Econet because the pension funds have shares in the company.
“What a lot of people don’t realise is that everytime our share price goes up it means their pension fund is increasing in value,” said the spokesman.The growth in Econet has been a major boost to the economy as the company is one of the largest tax payers in the country. – Own Correspondent.