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Douglas Mboweni

Zimbabwean telco Econet says it has engaged government to help it recover USD80 million in interconnection fees owed to it by TelOne and netOne.

Econet Wireless CEO Douglas Mboweni said at the company’s AGM that delays in the payment of interconnect debts were among the challenges the telco faced. Other challenges included frequent commercial power outages, delays in approval of site permits, deteriorating access roads to sites and the proliferation of poor quality devices, which affected service.

However, the company had seen strong growth and reports significant demand for voice services as well as immense potential for further growth in data services. Mboweni said Econet also saw potential for further growth in mobile money transfer services.

He attributed the group’s strong financial performance delivered to date to improved operational performance and the introduction of innovative products and services. Among these were MMS services and EcoCash, a mobile money transfer service. Mboweni said over 1 million customers were registered for mobile money transfer within six months of launch.

Customers were also adopting data services in increasing numbers, he said, driven in part by the introduction of a wide range of affordable smartphones and tablets. Over 2 million customers are connected to data services and this growth is expected to increase as more customers gain access to data enabled devices.

He noted: “The penetration of broadband has increased to over 20% of the total market, a notable achievement within 18 months of launch.”

The Group delivered exceptional financial performance in the financial year ended 29 February 2012, with net cash flows from operating activities of USD246,4 million, an increase of 17% from the previous year.  The Group maintained its market leadership and sustained over 70% of the mobile market share.  

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