Econet edges in videoconferencing

By Alfonce Mbizwo, Harare, Zimbabwe

Video conferencing maybe the norm in developed countries but it has only just made it to these shores, and it will not come cheap, the service providers say.

Econet Wireless on Thursday announced that it has started offering video conferencing facilities to companies and parastatals that can afford the service.

Econet chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni said it had put in place the required infrastructure but shortage of bandwidth held up progress. The advent of fibre optic had made it possible for the company to start offering the service.

"We are no longer travelling to other countries in the region or internationally to hold strategic meetings for the company, we just sit in our boardroom and discuss business with colleagues in the United Kingdom and anywhere else using video conferencing.

"The infrastructure we have been putting in place all along has made this possible. Right now if any corporate comes to us and says that they want video conferencing facilities we can do it for them," he said.

Mboweni would not disclose the pricing structure, but other Econet officials said the service would not come cheap.

“The cost depends on the specifications as required by the company and resources that we will use to set that up. We first inspect and come up with actual requirements, sometimes there is need for an uplink. It's going to be useful for companies that have branches scattered across the country or across the globe," he said.

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