Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe’s biggest telecoms company, has reached an agreement with equipment supplier Ericsson to upgrade the network and help it deploy 5G to more areas.
The expansion will include the modernisation of Econet’s radio access network and the mobile core network in Harare, the two companies said at the Mobile World Congress 2023, Barcelona, Tuesday. The expansion will improve the 4G and 5G radio access networks and widen network coverage and capacity.
Econet was the first to launch 5G in Zimbabwe last year, deploying the Ericsson technology at limited sites.
“Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is on a mission to realize an advanced 5G ecosystem in the country,” said Roy Chimanikire, Deputy CEO at Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. “Our latest partnership with Ericsson brings us closer to realizing this ambition with 5G expansions in more locations.”
Ericsson has supplied Econet equipment for over two decades and plans to extend its partnership with the Zimbabwean operator, said Todd Ashton, Vice President and Head of Ericsson South and East Africa at Ericsson Middle East and Africa.
He said: “Our solutions will provide Econet with incredible speeds and mobility and introduce next-generation connectivity services seamlessly. It will also accelerate the introduction of new 5G use cases that will support the nation’s digitalization momentum and assert its position in the growing digital economy.”
Zimbabwean telecoms companies face degraded services because they cannot access enough foreign currency to pay for the network upgrades that they need to provide efficient services. In its last trading update, Econet reported rising demand for data services, but said that it was “severely constrained by the lack of access to foreign currency to service our foreign suppliers”. The company, like others in the sector, is also restrained by sub-economic tariffs and worsening power cuts.