Econet to trial 3G and resume GSM sales

21 May 2007

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe says it will launch 3G mobile network trials for a selected group of around 2,000 users, in order to fine-tune the service before it is offered on a wider commercial basis. According to the company, construction of a 3G network has reached an advanced stage, and should be completed by the end of this month. It added that the first 3G application to be launched would be high speed internet access, with video calling not expected to be introduced until the end of the year. Meanwhile, Econet is planning to resume the sale of new GSM connections in June following the successful implementation of a new numbering system. The cellco last released new lines in December 2006, before freezing new connections to concentrate on the new numbering system, which was completed at the end of February. In a statement, Econet said it will initially release 150,000 lines, which, assuming they are all taken up, will boost its total subscriber base to 800,000 – its official total network capacity. The company revealed its engineers were putting final touches to facilitate the release of new lines onto the market from next month to take up spare capacity on the network. Econet also said it has begun a further expansion project, with 150 base stations currently at various stages of completion. ‘Econet has already begun work to further upgrade the capacity from 800,000 to 2.2 million by the end of the current financial year…Once the civil construction work is complete the equipment suppliers Ericsson and ZTE will start installing the equipment,’ the company said.