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Econet, Ericsson sign five-year deal for expansion programme
24/11/2014 00:00:00
by The Source

TELECOMS giant, Econet Wireless has signed a five-year deal with Swedish communications giant, Ericsson to supply services for its network upgrade programme which is expected to improve connectivity.

Last November the company said it planned to invest $180 million in capital projects while its investment in the country to date has topped $1,2 billion, making Econet the largest infrastructure financier in a country struggling to attract Foreign Direct Investment.

On Monday, Ericson said it had been selected as the sole supplier of Econet’s core network and radio access network (RAN) which would enable its customers to access “faster and reliable services.”

The deal would see the companies working together to simplify and upgrade the existing 2G, 3G, 4G and LTE networks, “future-proofing it for the rapid mobile expansion in the country,” it said in a statement.

Econet’s group chief technical officer, Bernard Fernandes said: “We have chosen our trusted long-term partner Ericsson to accompany us on this journey and look forward to the ability to launch new products and quality services to our customers.”

The new scope will rationalise and upgrade the core network as well as introduce the latest Ericsson network architecture. The agreement includes provision of a mobile switching centre and media gateway.

“It also includes close integration between policy and charging functions, which will enable Econet to reduce time-to-market for new offerings and increased personalization capabilities,” said Ericsson.

In Harare, which currently carries more than half of all traffic on the network, the project will also upgrade the (RAN) to include Ericsson’s multi-standard RBS 6000 family of base stations for macro and small cell networks.

Ericsson Zimbabwe country manager, Pieter Goosen said the project would give Econet “one of the most advanced core networks on the continent, providing them far more capacity to manage and scale their network.”

Econet launched its network in 1998 and has grown to be the largest provider of telecommunications and payment solutions in Zimbabwe.

The company says it now has 9.2 million registered subscribers.


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