By Mary Taruvinga
ECONET users were left stranded Saturday after the telecoms giant’s mobile network experienced a major shutdown owing to load shedding.
The majority of Econet network services failed Saturday morning with no apologies or explanation being given by the company.
The mobile operator only responded to the problem after over six hours of a crippling blackout which left millions of Zimbabweans who rely on mobile money, Ecocash for transactions, stranded.
Econet attributed the blackout to a fault with its generators saying its engineers were working “flat out” to restore the problem.
“Our engineers are busy working to resolve a network fault that started when generators at our network operations center failed to kick off following a Zesa power outage.
“The problem has since been isolated and our technical teams are working flat out to resolve the issue.
“We sincerely regret the inconvenience this has caused to our customers,” said Econet in a statement which did not reach many people due to the communication challenges.
However, services remained unavailable hours after Econet released the statement.
Zimbabweans were left angry after they failed to carry out any transactions.
A survey by NewZimbabwe.com revealed that all retailers were only accepting cash transactions and NetOne’s Onewallet mobile money transactions, which the majority do not use.
Econet subscribers took their frustrations to the service provider’s Facebook page against whom they had no kind words.
The company did not respond to any of the complaints but instead posted an advert totally divorced the challenge at hand.
“2030 amusvike mukaramba muchidai vanhu veEconet (you won’t be in business by 2030 if you remain this inefficient),” said one angry subscriber.
“Don’t you think you should inform your customers if your services are not available. I have been failing to connect to the internet, Facebook, WhatsApp etc for five hours now. At least inform so that we find other alternatives. How do we communicate in the event of having an emergency,” said another subscriber.
Exiled former cabinet minister, Jonathan Moyo said the level of the hardships now being experienced showed that the country was heading for disaster.
“Because it’s been on autopilot, things are beginning to happen on their own in Zimbabwe with a growing risk of disaster. After dollarization, Zimbabwe is now shutting down on its own. The communication sector is dying. Folks can’t use Ecocash, can’t make calls or use data,” Moyo posted on his official twitter handle.
Zimbabwe’s economy could grind to a halt if power outages gripping the nation persist as production plunges, exports decline, companies lay off staff and disposable incomes shrink.
It has emerged that manufacturing companies are going for up to 18 hours without electricity.
The problem is not only synonymous with Econet since industry is already operating at half its installed capacity and becoming even less competitive.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president Peter Mutasa recently said workers are facing the threat of job losses as a result of power outages.