THE benefits of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s ongoing billion-dollar expansion project have begun to be felt following the resumption for the first time in more than six months of sales of new lines by the company.
FONT face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>A spokesman for the company confirmed in a statement that sales of contract and Libertie prepaid lines had resumed following the creation of additional capacity as part of the expansion programme that is estimated to cost $200 billion when completed.
No Buddie prepaid lines have been released yet but these will be on the market shortly.
“We can confirm that contract and Libertie lines are now available and we expect to also resume the sale of Buddie prepaid lines shortly. This is as a result of the ongoing expansion to create additional capacity on the network,” the spokesman said.
Econet announced late last year that it was investing more than $200 billion, its largest ever expansion project, to expand the network and push capacity from the current 250 000 to over 500 000 by the end of 2005.
The project also includes expansion to other network elements such as transmission, voice mail, short message service systems and base stations.
“The project has reached an advanced stage and network congestion has significantly been eliminated on our network in Harare and Bulawayo.
Congestion can however be experienced when calling other networks. Our engineers are now fine-tuning our network so that we eliminate things like dropped calls,” said the spokesman.
Meanwhile, the spokesman also confirmed that Econet had suspended staff members in its sales department following an audit into sales of Buddie lines on the parallel market.
He said four staff members had been suspended following a lengthy and intensive forensic audit carried out by external auditors.
“We have been trying to track down the source of new lines which appear in the newspapers at higher prices than what we sell them for. We found that these were lines which had been sent to small towns outside Harare but were diverted back in collusion with some of our dealers and Econet staff,” he said.
“Although Econet was never prejudiced we do not want to see people being ripped off. It is not an easy problem because of the current shortage of lines on the market but we are committed to stamping out all forms of corruption,” he said. – Staff Writer.