Econet Wireless Zimbabwe and NetOne, the country’s two largest mobile network operators (MNOs) by coverage, have entered into an infrastructure sharing agreement.
In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the chief executive officers of the two operators, the companies commit to sharing infrastructure in a move that is set to further increase their coverage and widen the availability of ICT services to Zimbabweans.
“The parties shall identify the infrastructure to be shared and agree on the site-sharing arrangements for each site,” says part of the MoU, signed on April 22, 2019.
“We are happy to have signed this agreement, something we have wanted to do in a very long time,” said Econet Wireless CEO Mr Douglas Mboweni.
“We consider this to be a very fair arrangement and believe it represents a giant step in our collective endeavour to bring connectivity and ICT services to all Zimbabweans,” Mr Mboweni said.
“This agreement allows NetOne and Econet to optimize the utilization of scarce foreign currency as it eliminates the duplication of infrastructure. This is a watershed agreement which supports Vision 2030 which is to create a middle-income status economy, through improved accessibility of ICTs across the country,” NetOne CEO Mr Lazarus Muchenje said.
The MoU defines the site-sharing parameters between the two operators, including arrangements relating to the sharing of towers, commercial and backup power supply, back haul transmission and security at the shared sites, among other things.
The landmark agreement is set to benefit millions of customers of the two operators through increased network coverage. It will help reduce infrastructure capital investment expenses and lower operational costs for the two telecommunication companies which, in the long run, will increase efficiencies.
Both Econet and NetOne serve more than 90 percent of the country’s nearly 13 million active mobile network subscribers.