Zimbabwe's Econet Wireless says that it is to relaunch its mobile payphone service. Until hyper inflation destroyed the economy, Econet had a vibrant payphone service which was supported by thousands of self-employed operators. Now the company has re-launched the service through its YourFone payphone brand, with the roll-out of 25,000 units over the next six months.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe CEO Mr. Douglas Mboweni confirmed that his company has begun rolling out a massive payphone project. He said Econet recognises that even with low cost handsets; there are still thousands of people who cannot afford to own their own handsets, particularly in rural areas.
Econet has recently extended its network to virtually every corner of the country, and is still rolling out even more coverage. YourFone will allow the company to utilize this capacity efficiently.
In a country with over 80% unemployment, payphones are a quick, easy way to create employment opportunities. As part of its strategy to create employment, Econet does not use automated payphones, making sure instead that each payphone can have an operator. With plans to deploy more than 25,000 payphones, the country's largest company is also set to be the biggest employer. It is estimated that as many as 10,000 people countrywide are involved in selling Econet products and services.