Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has edged closer to transforming itself into a fully-fledged digital service company, a move that helps the country’s largest mobile telecommunications operator to serve its customers better, it has been learnt.
Econet has, since its launch in 1998, been a communications service provider.
But, company secretary, Charles Banda, in a trading update for the quarter to November 30, 2022, published this week, said the listed concern continues to make progress on its journey towards being a fully-fledged digital service provider.
“Anticipating changing customer needs and innovating to fulfill them remains one of our core operating imperatives.
“In order to improve quality of service, we plan to modernise the current core network to one that is virtualised, in order to increase our ability to efficiently allocate network resources,” Banda said. He said the modernisation of the current know-your-client system is also underway in line with the digital services provider strategy.
This will include biometric detection as well as digital identification, leading to better protection for our customers against growing cyber-security risks, Banda said.
In the trading update, Econet reported a 9% revenue growth in the nine months to November 30, 2022, compared to the same period in 2021.
Banda attributed the growth to voice and data volumes.
He, however, bemoaned low tariffs.
“Inflation-adjusted revenue for the 9-month period grew by 9% compared to the same period last year. The growth was largely driven by voice and data volumes, which were however weighed down by tariffs which were below inflation,” Banda said.
He added: “While the company has started to see growth in the proportion of United States dollar-denominated sales to local customers, we have observed that other consumer facing businesses are now selling more than 60% of their products and services in US dollars. If this trend continues, we expect
It to ease our challenges in terms of paying key suppliers.”
Banda also said Econet was hit hardest by a severe foreign currency shortage.
“Although the business continued to witness an increase in demand for its services, foreign currency availability for servicing our foreign suppliers has continued to be a major challenge and has hampered our ability to implement much needed network maintenance and expansion.
“Overall, the local telecommunications industry has been struggling to meet the capacity and coverage demands of consumers as investment is long overdue. Capacity enhancements and routine maintenance has remained severely constrained by the lack of access to foreign currency to service our foreign network suppliers. Management continues to engage and negotiate payment terms with our network equipment vendors to secure their continued support,” Banda said.