NetOne embarks on $485m expansion project
STATE-OWNED mobile telecommunication network operator NetOne will embark on the third phase of its network expansion project next year, at a cost of $485 million, a senior official has said.
This comes as NetOne also indicated that it targets to register an additional five million subscribers, after it registered one million new customers this year, as it aggressively moves to grow its market share
The country’s third largest mobile telecoms company is currently rolling out base stations across the country under phase two of the network expansion programme set to be completed next month.
NetOne acting chief executive Mr Brian Mutandiro said the expansion is designed to cater for growth in subscribers, as the company bids to reclaim its position as the biggest network.
He made the remarks at the launch of the mobile network’s Tombo 1 base station in Nyanga on Monday.
NetOne was the first mobile company to secure a mobile telecoms licence in 1996, but has been overtaken by Econet Wireless in terms of subscribers.
“The first phase (of the network expansion programme), which was undertaken from 2010 to 2013 witnessed the installation of a switching network in Bulawayo that was done by Huawei, that cost us about $45 million.
“Beyond that we went to phase two where $218 million was spent, we are very fortunate and very happy that Government raised a guarantee for NetOne that saw the increase in base stations from about 400 to 2 300 and we are now going into the third phase, which will see NetOne installing an additional 3 000 base stations in 500 new physical sites,” he said.
He added that completion of the third phase of the network expansion project will give NetOne enough capacity to connect 10 million subscribers.
“This will actually bring connectivity to the full length and breath of Zimbabwe, 100 percent connectivity. It will give NetOne the capability to connect at any given time, 10 million subscribers.
“If we assume the population of Zimbabwe to be 13 million, it means that almost everyone will be covered.
“We are bringing the latest technology, which makes sure that there is now inclusivity.
‘‘We are no longer going to have marginalised sections of our community,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, Ministry of Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services acting principal director Ms Beaullah Chirume said Government is expanding mobile network coverage into rural areas.
“The third phase will be to put up infrastructure in all the rural areas and to make sure that we provide those areas with the latest technology like 4G, 4.5G and long-term evolution to speed up connectivity in those areas, she said
Acting Netone CEO Mr Brian Mutandiro (left) follows proceedings at the launch of a Nyanga base station on Monday