Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has reported a 16% fall in net profit for its financial year to 28 February 2013. Profit fell to USD140 million from USD165.7 million the year before as a result of higher financing costs, partly due to a new USD307 million syndicated loan which was taken out during the year. On a brighter note, sales for the twelve month period grew by 14% to USD695 million. Chief Executive Douglas Mboweni said that Econet had invested USD147 million in upgrading its mobile network and noted that its subscriber base grew by 25% in 2012/13 to reach eight million. There was also a 52% jump in the number of customers using mobile data services, from 2.1 million to 3.2 million. Meanwhile, Mboweni confirmed that the government has renewed Econet’s cellular licence, which was due to expire in July. The operator has paid the first USD85 million installment of the USD137.5 million fee for the renewed 20-year concession, Reuters reports.