Econet bemoans power cuts

BY BUSINESS REPORTER

The country’s biggest telecommunication company, Econet, says its operations have been severely crippled by the prolonged power outages, compromising service delivery.

The country is experiencing crippling electricity cuts lasting for at least 16 hours per day, affecting households and industry operations.

Econet services such as voice, data and mobile money transfer platform Ecocash were down for the most part of the day due to power cuts at the weekend.

In a statement yesterday, Econet said its network was designed to withstand a set level of power outages and, as such, the highest level has been exceeded as a result of long loading shedding periods being experienced in the country.

“The severe shortage of both electrical power and diesel fuel means that some of our base stations will not be operational when there is no Zesa power or when fuel runs out of site. This inevitably results in degradation of all services supported by the network in terms of service availability, call set up, call success rates, dropped call rates and speech quality,” Econet said.

“In order to mitigate the impact on service quality and network performance, Econet has made attempts in the reality of serious fuel shortages to increase diesel fuel allocated to our base stations sites. Even with these contingency measures, the increased fuel allocation is still inadequate to ensure the required optimum network performance and at the current regulated pricing levels, the related costs are not sustainable.”

The telecoms company said it is increasingly becoming untenable and uneconomical for it to guarantee a reasonable grade of service and optimal network uptime under the current conditions.

“With the ongoing aggressive Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority load shedding, our requirements are at more than six times the diesel we are currently using in order to provide uninterrupted service. Our voice tariffs have remained static in business operating environment where the local currency has lost nearly 900% value to the US dollar since the beginning of the year, and where the price of the fuel has risen by more than 500% since the beginning of the year.”

Econet warned that it would engage relevant authorities to find an urgent solution saying it will take “drastic measures” if a quick and viable solution is not found.

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