Telecel aims 85% network coverage

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TELECOMMS company Telecel Zimbabwe is aiming for its its network to cover 85% of the country by year end under its 2G network.
New chief executive Francis Mawindi told a parliamentary committee on media, information and ICT development that the 2G network currently had 320 sites and expected to have added 284 by the end of the year to give an 85% national coverage. Of those sites, 120 were in Harare.
In terms of 3G, the group had 137 sites under coverage and would add 151 sites by year end, lifting the coverage to 32% from the current 25%.
Mawindi said additional sites would address densification. He went on to explain the difference between coverage and capacity, saying that networks might have the same coverage but one might have more base stations. Capacity had to do with the amount of bandwith within a service area.
Telecel was looking at measures to address congestion and would swap 70 sites, changing them to those of a higher capacity.
The group went along with Econet’s assertion that erratic power supply had a huge bearing on operational costs.
“Power outages continue to be an issue and using generators comes at a cost to the business,” Mawindi said.
Marketing manager Obert Mandimika said there were 40 sites which ran exclusively on generators as they were not covered by the national electricity grid.
Mawindi said the group now had a new billing system to provide more flexibility and was in the process of installing a call centre system.
The subscriber base was at 2 million as at end of June, as measured by only active subscribers in the last 90 days. Telecel’s market share had risen to 26.5% as at June 30, from 23% in January.
Mawindi said the group would take part in the USF project by improvising the equipment. Potraz was expected to soon add 40 sites using the USF.
Asked about plans to list on the ZSE, Mawindi said the matter was being handled at a shareholder level and so were matters concerning indigenisation.
Telecel is 60% owned by Orascom Egypt and 40% by the Empowerment Corporation.
Mawindi said Telecel operated a universal procurement process, which takes advantage of the principal company Orascam, which has bigger bargaining power. — Staff Writer.

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