SWAZI MOBILE PAYS E220 MILLION TO LOCAL BUSINESS
Investment of E350m on setting up shop within the 2 months Aims to reach 77% network coverage by the end of November New offering of enhanced lightning high-speed network will be installed in strategic areas
Swazi Mobile’s commitment to the local economy has been demonstrated in two months (August and September) since they launched operations, with the new entrant in the telecommunications industry investing over E350 million to date.
This investment is outside of the estimated E1.3 billion worth of infrastructure which the company has had in place since it started making inroads in the communication sector and continues to improve on. The E1.3billion, though not officially confirmed, is estimated from previous reports on infrastructure investments.
The mobile company confirmed that it has so far invested at least E350 million towards goods and services, with a chunk of this going to local contractors who have benefitted most as the company set up for going live. According to the company’s accounts, around E220 million was spent on different local companies which were awarded different tenders. Senior Finance Manager Thokozani Nkambule disclosed that the company aims to live up to the billing of being a Swazi company and playing its part in boosting the local economy.
In an unprecedented move, Swazi Mobile shared its accounts during a press briefing on Friday at their offices, showing a list of the companies that have been contracted by Swazi Mobile since inception. This, explained Nkambule, was to show Swazis that the company is purely Swazi and the resources will be spent or circulated around the Swazi economy.
About 248 suppliers or companies have to date benefited since Swazi Mobile was licenced after the liberalisation of the telecommunication industry.
The company disclosed that 95 per cent of its suppliers were local companies. “A lot of the money we have spent on helping start-ups, who we helped by paying upfront for their services,” he added.
Nkambule explained that they encouraged start-ups, most of who have come to Swazi Mobile with business ideas that they bought into. He further disclosed that some of the companies are by startup entrepreneurs. Nkambule clarified that MvTel was one of the companies which least benefited from Swazi Mobile as it only got business worth less than E200 000. This he said as clarification that the subsidiary company was not being sustained by Swazi Mobile as their core business concerntrated on entrepreneurs. The company disclosed that the company has grown in leaps even though they were forced to bring new infrastructure.
Nkambule said, “We have used local companies and we have been impressed by the work ethic they displayed, even though the perception is that local companies are not skilled and cannot deliver, we took a calculated risk with our trusted internal risk analysis and it paid off.” Nkambule disclosed that the company conceptualised and constructed its own towers using local company expertise. The company disclosed that if they were able to share network infrastructure, as per provisions by the regulator, they would
have attained 100 per cent network coverage sooner. The company said they would have used resources to boost current network infrastructure while rehabilitating those that are old. Swazi Mobile also disclosed that they installed towers and are still installing more in a bid to bring a 100 per cent effective lightning speed network coverage.
To meet urban network demands, the company disclosed that they would enhance some of the hot spots with high speed rooftop frequencies to ease network congestion. The company further disclosed they would up their game for the 4G network as in some spots where the network was weak, people were unable to realise the benefit of the high speed network.
4G/LTE (Fourth Generation /Long Term Evolution) is the next stage in mobile network development and provides users with much faster data speeds than 3G capabilities.
Swazi Mobile also revealed that they would get listed on the Swaziland Stock Exchange as a public company and revealed that they were waiting for few minor details.
The company revealed that the issuance of shares to the ordinary person who would ordinarily not comprehend the sophistication of trading once the company was listed in the stock exchange was for the economic development of the country.
Swazi Mobile staff in a jovial mood as they end the customer week.