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Econet Zimbabwe expands 5G to Bulawayo

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Zimbabwe's biggest mobile network operator, Econet, has extended its 5G service into Bulawayo.

The telco launched 5G in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, in February 2022 through a partnership with global equipment vendor Ericsson. It has now expanded the service into five more basestations in Bulawayo, in partnership with ZTE.

The Bulawayo launch was announced at last week's Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) for 2022.

A local newspaper, The Herald, quoted the company's CTO Edwin Banda as saying the telco would roll out 22 5G basestations in Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Gweru and Chitungwiza. He said that 18 of the basestations were already up and switched on, while the remainder would be online by May 15, 2022.

The operator believes that 5G will allow it to meet the growing demand for data and complement its growing 4G network, boosting overall mobile connectivity for Econet customers.

Econet is by far Zimbabwe's biggest mobile operator with almost 66.5% market share at the end of 2021 with about 9.4 million users, according to statistics from market research company Omdia, a sister company of Connecting Africa. NetOne Zimbabwe has about 28.5% market share while Telecel Zimbabwe accounts for the last 5% of subscribers.

Back in February, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe CEO Douglas Mboweni said the 5G rollout was an important milestone for the company, which has already invested over US$3 billion in infrastructure since its inception in 1998.

He said the technology would bolster Zimbabwe's capacity to build a full-fledged digital economy.

"The 5G technology will transform the way we all live and work, offering customers significantly greater network capacity, ultra-low latency and super-fast broadband speeds that open vast possibilities for our individual, business and enterprise customers," he said in a statement about the initial launch.

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— The Staff, Connecting Africa

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