Zimbabwe’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, Econet Wireless, has been forced to reverse its decision to switch off interconnection with state-owned NetOne. As previously reported, Econet decided to cut services to NetOne over a dispute over interconnection fees amounting to more than USD20 million that Econet claimed had been unpaid since 2009. However, the country’s high court has now ordered Econet to resume interconnection with NetOne. Econet says it is also trying to recover unpaid interconnection fees from TelOne.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, Econet says it has begun taking delivery of new equipment that will see the capacity of its mobile network increase to ten million subscribers. ‘Shipment of the equipment, which began in the last few days, is expected to continue well into next year. The equipment is being supplied by Ericsson of Sweden and the Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer ZTE,’ the company said in a statement. ‘The new expansion drive by Econet is also expected to see its investment in Zimbabwe exceed USD1 billion, the largest ever in the country’s history. It follows the approval by the Econet board to “mop up” the remaining demand for lines in the Zimbabwe market.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, at the end of June 2012 Econet had almost seven million subscribers, corresponding to a market share of around 65%.