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Francis Mawindi

By Alfonce Mbizwo, Harare, Zimbabwe

New Telecel Zimbabwe chief executive Francis Mawindi said the network expects to cover at least 85% of the country by year end.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Media, Information and ICT development, he said the telco's 2G network currently had 320 sites and expects to have added 284 sites by the end of the year, to give coverage of 85%. Of those sites, 120 are in Harare.

In terms of 3G, the group had 137 sites under coverage and will add 151 sites by year end, lifting the coverage to 32% from the current 25%.

Mawindi said the sites increase the capacity while additional sites address densification. He explained the difference between coverage and capacity saying that different networks might have the same coverage but one might have more base stations. Capacity has to do with the amount of bandwith within a service area.

Telecel was looking to address congestion and the group would swap 70 sites, changing them to a higher capacity, said Mawindi

He said erratic power supply had a huge bearing on operational costs.

“Power outages continue to be an issue and using generators comes at a cost to the business.” Marketing manager Obert Mandimika said that there were 40 sites, which were on generators as they were not covered by the national electricity grid.

Mawindi said the group now had a new billing system to provide more flexibility and is in the process of installing a call centre system.

The subscriber base was at two million as at end of June. Telecel’s market share was at 26.5% as at June 30 from 23% in January.

Mawindi said Telecel plans to list on the ZSE were being handled at a shareholder level and as were matters concerning indigenisation.

Telecel is 60% owned by Orascom Egypt and 40% by the Empowerment Corporation. 

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