Econet embarks on data network upgrade

ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe will upgrade its existing 2G sites countrywide to 3G by the end of the year, as part of a huge data network advancement the company is carrying out.

In a statement last week, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe announced a major data network upgrade that will see the mobile network market leader achieve 100% 3G coverage across the country by the end of the year.

Announcing the developments at the company’s head office in Msasa, Harare, last week, Econet CEO, Douglas Mboweni said the upgrade exercise had already started.

“The upgrade started in March this year, at the beginning of our new financial year, and should be completed by the end of this calendar year. We are essentially ensuring that each and every one of our existing 2G sites countrywide — in towns and in rural areas — are upgraded to 3G sites” he said, adding that the upgrade had already begun in parts of the country.

“Matabeleland, Bulawayo and Harare provinces are now already complete, with all sites in these provinces on 3G as we speak. We are pleased to let our customers know that in the coming few months, accessing our smart data network from anywhere in the country will be so much easier, particularly in the rural and farming communities.”

According to industry data, Econet controls 98% of the LTE data market share and has the widest geographical mobile network coverage in Zimbabwe, covering 82% of the country.

Latest data from the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe shows that Econet has 4 092 base stations or a 52,2% market share of total mobile infrastructure.

In comparison to industry peers, NetOne has 2 691 base stations (34,5%) and Telecel Zimbabwe 1 025 (13,2%).

The company leads the country’s three mobile network operators (MNOs) in data network coverage, with more coverage than the other two MNOs put together. Econet has 1 192 3G base stations (51,2%), compared to NetOne’s 771 3G base stations (33,1%) and Telecel’s 364 3G base stations (15,6%).

Econet, which reported 10,2 million connected customers at the end of February 2017, also leads in LTE network coverage, with 499 LTE sites (63,7%) to NetOne’s 284 LTE sites (36,3%).

Econet Wireless supports 269 000 LTE customers on its LTE infrastructure, compared with NetOne, which supports 2 165 LTE customers as at the end of March 2017.

Confirming the Econet upgrade, technical director, Kezito Makuni said the upgrade exercise would see Econet cover most of the country with 3G technology.

“Upon completion, we will have covered close to 82% of the population with fast and reliable 3G and LTE coverage,” he said.

“Our customers will be able to enjoy our data products and services at much faster access and browsing speeds wherever they are and wherever they go in Zimbabwe.”–newsday