POWERTEL Communications, a subsidiary of Zesa Holdings, has revealed plans to invest in excess of US$50 million towards network expansion and rural datafication, as it increases connectivity across the country.
Acting commercial director Prosper Mutswiri told NewsDay Business on the sidelines of the company's customer interface dinner on Saturday that the firm will invest about US$50 million towards network expansion.
“We are also looking at other investments that are going to come,” he told NewsDay Business.
“In terms of network expansion, we have got a serial digital interface and many other network-related expansion projects that we are also rolling out in terms of investment that is expected. So, this is what we have done in terms of recapitalising the business.”
He added: “We are working on an exciting journey which we call rural datafication which is part of the strategic response to Vision 2030 where we are walking together as Zesa.
“During total electrification, we are rolling out fibre, so be it Dotito, Chendambuya or all the marginalised communities or unconnected areas, will be connected to the internet, so you will have both electricity and internet.
“That journey has started. We recently launched it in Mutema, we launched it in Bulawayo and we are launching it countrywide to be able to connect all the unconnected areas. We are looking at in excess of US$50 million in terms of our entire network upgrade as first phase and rural datafication and this is something that we are immediately going to do.”
This comes at a time when industry and commerce are pushing for information and communication technologies which play a key role in driving the momentum towards the attainment of the aspirations of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and Vision 2030.
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Mutswiri, who is on a drive to initiate a turnaround at the organisation, said the firm recently introduced managed solutions, data centre services, cloud solutions and other expansion programmes anchored around exploitation and exploration.
These, according to Mutswiri, target existing co-network to repackage services and also to offer new ways of service delivery to customers.
“So, the programmes are anchored on revamping our carrier services, our access networks and also rolling our network to what we call our cluster model or common interest communities which has got faster deployment and ease of access as well as more affordable,” he said. “We are also taking the route of exploration where we are exploring new ways of service delivery and expanding our network. This is on the backbone that we have ventured into a partnership that is going to see our network being upgraded to what we call DWDM (dense wavelength-division multiplexing).
“We are also rolling out long-term evolution both in terms of the backbone and in terms of access. We are also rolling out many other value-added services that are going to be fourth industrial facing realising that our customers from amoeba markets to what we call conformance customers where they demand tailor-made services."
Powertel is the first company to connect through Seacom, which is a submarine cable operator with a network of submarine and terrestrial high-speed fibre-optic cable that serves the east and west coasts of Africa. Seacom’s reach extends to and from Europe, India and Asia.
The Zesa subsidiary is responsible for telecommunications infrastructural development, virtual private networking, high speed internet provision, the provision of the most affordable voice service, call centre facilities as well as pre-paid electricity aggregation.
The organisation is moving with the mantra “deployment and implementation” with a view to improving its market share in the internet access providers sector through increasing network capacity utilisation.
Powertel has set its sights on ensuring that the business aligns itself with the future by adapting quickly to the changing environment and offering competitive products and services.
The firm has invested in fibre backbone over the pylons to the undersea cable through Mozambique and Botswana.