Econet says network modernisation to improve customer experience, pushes for sustainable tariffs

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has reaffirmed its commitment to harnessing new technologies to modernise its network and improve the customer experience.

“The company will leverage new technologies to enhance the potential for better financial performance through improved customer experience and lower costs,” Econet said in a trading update for the third quarter ending November 30, 2023.

To achieve this objective, the listed telecommunications and technology company has urged authorities to implement sustainable tariffs, that will allow it to invest in upgrading its network infrastructure and improve the customer experience.

“Due to the high inflationary pressures, the business is calling for balanced regulation, an important step given the rising operational costs driven by inflation and the shift to using the US dollar. It’s essential to find a middle ground where tariffs remain practical for the business without becoming unaffordable for consumers,” the company said.

“Regional benchmarks reflect that local telecommunication tariffs remain much lower than the region, despite the country’s cost structures being more demanding and access to foreign currency for infrastructure deployments being a significant challenge for local businesses,” the trading update said.

In the period under review, Econet witnessed significant growth in voice and data traffic of 28% and 26% respectively, largely anchored on network modernization.

The company noted that the continued increase in data traffic reflects changing consumer behaviour and evolving usage patterns towards data-intensive applications, such as video streaming, social media engagement, and online gaming, requiring commensurate capital expenditure to continue to provide quality service.

“In order to sustain the quality of services amidst higher usage rates, there’s a need for tariffs that support the business, especially as inflation impacts capital spending. Implementing cutting-edge network technology, optimizing spectrum utilization, and increasing network density is necessary to manage growing data traffic and maintain a resilient network,” Econet said.

The company’s inflation-adjusted revenue for the period under review increased by 177% from ZW$0.8 trillion, relative to the same period last year.

“Exchange losses continued to weigh down the financial performance of the business. For the period under review, exchange losses were 20% of revenue against a prior period comparative of 26%. After the successful settlement of debentures in September 2023, the exchange losses exposure was significantly reduced, and this should improve the business performance going forward,” the update said.

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