By Business reporter ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange-listed telecommunications services provider Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited says that the prevailing power outages have affected network quality and reliability of its services.
Power outages have crippled the operations of companies with the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce estimating that it has resulted in the cost of doing business going up by 150%.
“Persistent national grid power outages have affected network quality and reliability, thereby necessitating us to increase our efforts to augment our power supply with solar power,” Econet said in a financial update for the first quarter ended May 31, 2022. “However, as inflation increases and disposable incomes are coming under more pressure, there is a discernible increase in the theft of diesel, batteries and solar panels. In response, we have enhanced security at our sites to counter the effects of increased vandalism and theft.”
Econet was the first mobile network operator to roll out 5G service in Harare and continued to progress to other cities.
“In the quarter under review, 5G service was further rolled out in Bulawayo during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF 2022) and in Victoria Falls as well as in Chitungwiza, bringing the total number of 5G sites rolled out to 22. The business added 100 new 4G sites to improve network and speed of data connectivity.”
The diversified telecommunications company said as part of a business’ strategy to enhance the digital lifestyles of customers, the business focused more on gaming, music and entertainment to create more platforms for entertainment and revenue streams for artists.
“An increase in the uptake of support services or self-care platforms was noted and this has seen an improvement in our query resolution time and customer experience,” the company said.
Econet recorded an increase in the voice and data traffic for the period under review by 6% and 18%, respectively, as compared to the previous quarter. This growth was achieved largely due to its customer acquisition strategy.
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The telecommunications sector was recently granted a staggered tariff adjustment by the regulator of 61% in July 2022, and a further 61% with effect from September 1, 2022, and a further 61% with effect from 1 November 2022.
“The tariff adjustments will cover voice, SMS, data and internet services and are determined in the local currency. The company is now selling some of its products in United States dollars, having received the requisite approvals,” the company revealed.
The telecoms provider said access to foreign currency remained severely constrained and this created further challenges in implementation of necessary network upgrades to assure the continued level of high quality service experienced by customers.
“As previously reported, significant foreign currency losses continue to be recorded due to the weakening exchange rate which deteriorated by 172% for the quarter under review,” it said.