Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, the leading telecommunications and technology company, says it plans to deploy new network infrastructure in Bulawayo and across Matabeleland in a move intended to boost network quality and customer experience in the region. Speaking at the re-opening of the company’s newly refurbished main shop in Bulawayo on Friday, Econet Chief Operating Officer Kezito Makuni said the investment – which includes the upgrade of 150 base stations – forms part of the company’s network expansion network programme into rural communities in Matabeleland. It will also see the listed telecoms giant drive 5G expansion and work to restore vandalised network infrastructure.
“We are embarking on a programme to refurbish the Bulawayo network by modernizing more than 150 sites in Bulawayo with the latest technology. We will also be refurbishing our backup power systems and expanding coverage both in the urban and rural areas of Matabeleland. Customers should start to experience the impact of this work upgrade early in the new year,” Makuni said.
He said the infrastructure modernisation programme involves upgrading of base stations, switches, transmission infrastructure, installing new base stations, upgrading software and introducing higher speed bearers on the network. Makuni was in Bulawayo, accompanied by senior Econet staff, to preside over the reopening – following extensive renovations – of Econet’s main shop in the city, which acts as the major referral shop for the group in the Matabeleland region. He said the shop’s reopening will offer improved access, bring convenience and create a vastly improved customer experience.
“We are truly committed to the experience our customers have when they come to interact with us in our shops, hence our effort to ensure that this shop is as good as the best a customer can experience anywhere in the world,” he said.
“In renovating the shop, we have expanded the number of service points, adapted the shop for customers that are differently abled as well enhanced service points for our Platinum partners and those requiring specialized services. “The objective of all of this being to ensure that our customers can quickly access services when they come to the shop and at the same time enjoy the experience,” he said.
The shop physically serves thousands of customers every month, who buy airtime, handsets and SIM cards, conduct banking services or get assistance on EcoCash queries, among other things. The Econet shop, located in the Bulawayo Central Business District, now has an all-new, completely refurbished interior layout, with a spacious and customer-friendly ambiance, featuring a mix of state-of-the-art, self-service technology and conventional, face-to-face counters. The building’s meeting rooms, and office space have also been fully redesigned, with the entire roof of the building now overlaid with solar panels, to ensure clean energy supply for the building. Zimbabwe International Trade Fair deputy Chief Executive Officer Stella Nkomo, who was the guest of honour at the event, commended Econet for instilling investor confidence in the region with its major shop upgrade.
“This development not only shows Econet’s commitment to serving the Matabeleland region, but is also a promise to improve service delivery, the utilisation of new network technologies, the strengthening of partnerships with business stakeholders as well as the increase in employment opportunities. “The multi-million-dollar refurbishment exercise will improve service to the Matabeleland region clientele while simultaneously boosting investor confidence in the regions,” Nkomo said.
She noted that it was companies like Econet that play a critical role in creating an innovative ecosystem that attracts bright and talented people to come to Bulawayo to create new opportunities and enterprises.
“Econet continues to increase business linkages through the provision of communication solutions which are tailormade for various industries. Moreover, the company continues to create employment opportunities to local residents by employing Econet staff and supporting downstream channel partners, comprising over 4 000 vendors and resellers,” she said