Econet Wireless Zimbabwe says that it has concluded agreements with ZTE and Ericsson to supply and install equipment valued at over US$170 million for the expansion of its network from the current subscriber capacity of 3 million to just over 5 million.
The work to be undertaken by the two companies and their subcontractors include the expansion of the GSM network, which is already GPRS enabled, as well as the separate installation of a national 3G network for all of Zimbabwe's major cities and tourist resorts.
Currently, 3G is only available in parts of the capital Harare. Econet currently has just over 2 million subscribers and plans to exceed the 3 million level before the end of December.
Investment by Econet during this year has enabled Zimbabwe to take its penetration rate from less than 10%, just a few months ago, to over 30% before the end of the year. The additional investment by Econet will take penetration to over 50% by June next year.
As a listed company, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is the largest Zimbabwean company by market capitalisation, and remains the single largest investor in Zimbabwe.