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Power outages, vandalism strain Econet operations

by Staff reporter
07 Aug 2022 at 08:19hrs | Views
TELECOMMUNICATIONS giant Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited says the persistent power outages across the country have adversely affected its operations and increased costs in its attempt to use alternative sources of energy which are also affected by vandalism and theft.

In its first quarter ended 31 May 2022, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed group said due to power outrages the quality of network had been heavily compromised.

"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.

"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," said Econet.

Econet said as previously reported, significant foreign currency losses continue to be recorded due to the weakening exchange rate which deteriorated by 172 percent for the quarter under review.

The business was the first mobile network operator to roll out 5G service in Harare towards the end of the last financial year.

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. Our journey to full digital transformation continued to gather momentum.

The business remained focused on its key imperatives thereby driving digital inclusivity and adoption of new ways of doing business through enabling technology," added Econet.

In line with their broad strategy, the company said to enhance the digital lifestyles of their customers, more focus and attention was directed towards gaming, music and entertainment to create more platforms for entertainment and revenue streams for artistes.

The telecommunications sector was granted a staggered tariff adjustment by the regulator of 61 percent in July 2022, and a further 61 percent with effect from 1 September 2022, and a further 61 percent 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 said it was now selling some of its products in United States dollars, having received the requisite approvals.

During the quarter, Econet reduced physical airtime sales from 20 percent to 10 percent of total airtime distribution and conversely recorded an uptake of airtime via electronic means.

This was in line with RBZ directive regarding the phasing out of physical airtime distribution.

Econet said tariffs remain below viable levels and will push for a scientific and fact-based approach to setting tariffs that takes into account the movements in the Telecommunications Price Index.

Source - The Sunday News
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