Econet network upgrade gets thumbs up

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe customers in Manicaland have expressed satisfaction with improved connectivity following a recent network upgrade covering the entire province, from 3G to the faster 4G technology, a customer survey has revealed.Last year Econet embarked on a major network upgrade involving 1 000 4G base stations which were deployed across the country within 365 days, including in the populous Eastern Highlands province of Manicaland.Now a customer survey has revealed that the upgrade resulted in higher voice call quality and faster mobile data speeds, significantly improving the customer experience in the region.“A network reliability index of 4.03 was recorded on a 5-point scale with the majority of customers being happy with the quality of voice calls and high internet speeds,” read part of the customer survey report.The survey showed that over 70% of customers in Manicaland were pleased with the quality of voice calls and data connectivity after the network upgrade in the province.“Similarly, overall network connectivity complaints came down by 70% between August 2023 and March 2024, highlighting the positive impact the recent upgrade has had,” the survey, commissioned by the listed telecommunications and technology company, said.The feedback came from customers across the province – which stretches along the border with Mozambique in the eastern part of the country – and includes towns and settlements such as Mutare, Chipinge, Chimanimani, Mutambara, Nyanyadzi, Odzi, Penhalonga, Rusape, Nyazura, Mutasa, Honde Valley, Buhera, Headlands and Nyanga, among others.“We used to struggle to connect to the Internet, but after the network upgrade, we can easily make video calls and communicate with friends and relatives living in different parts of the world,” said Beatrice Mafunga, from Honde Valley. Patrick Chiurukira, a teacher from Hauna growth point in the same district, observed that the network upgrade had significantly empowered students to participate in online classes and to conduct educational research projects, just like their counterparts in urban areas. "With the improved connectivity, our students now have access to a wealth of information and educational resources. They can engage in online classes and research projects without the previous limitations, bridging the gap between rural and urban students," he said.Before the network upgrade, Jenny Magaisa, a healthcare practitioner in Buhera, said simply picking a decent network signal was a challenge. "Last year we used to walk around the village, searching for a spot with network connectivity," she explained. "But now, thanks to the new (4G) base stations, I can reliably connect to the network from the comfort of my home. “It's a huge blessing in my line of work, especially for patient consultations and staying informed about medical updates," she said. Chipinge resident Tendai Mushava shared similar sentiments. 

"We can now stay in touch with family and friends living far away without worrying about dropped calls. I hope the situation remains like this," he said, adding that the Econet network upgrade had “brought him closer” to friends and family who live far away.Sydney Mutape, a business owner in Chikanga suburb in Mutare, commended Econet for the upgrade, pointing to the vastly improved data speeds and the impact it had made on his business."The difference is incredible. Before, downloading files or making video calls was not easy. Now its quite smooth and fast. The network upgrade has been a game-changer for my business."Cleopatra Size, a student at Africa University, near Mutare, highlighted the impact of the recent network upgrade on her studies. "I was able to continue with my schoolwork in Watsomba (Mutasa District) during the holidays, thanks to the improved network connectivity following the network upgrade there, " she said. Econet, which recently published it financial results for the period ending February 2024, said in a statement accompanying the results that it planned to continue its network modernization and upgrades around the country, with an additional 550 sites targeted for this year alone. 

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