Econet Wireless Zimbabwe reports that it has been overwhelmed by demand for its new data services, and has virtually exhausted all its initial capacity. This has prompted its parent company to authorise a US$30 million roll-out to speed up the expansion of the 3G service countrywide.
Chief Executive Officer Mr. Douglas Mboweni said the demand had completely surpassed all projections, which were based on take up in other countries around the world. Mr. Mboweni said the company had also been surprised by the number of people who have 3G and GPRS phones ready to be activated.
He said the company's parent company Econet Wireless Group (EWG), after seeing the figures, had authorised a massive roll out of 3G to all parts of the country by December, and was finalising agreements with suppliers to ship in equipment urgently.
"Our current system is very small and it has many limitations. By December, our service will be national, and our speeds will be comparable to Europe," he said. He said the expansion would cost about an additional $30million, and the company already has the money.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mboweni said, engineers from the suppliers are still in the country, attending to some of the glitches which have been experienced in the first month of the service. "Our customers have been very helpful in identifying some shortcomings, and we have passed them onto Ericsson, and they are addressing them. Speeds are being increased on bandwidth and we shall release even more capacity," he added.