Telecel upgrades data network as it plays catch up in coverage and services race

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Good news for Telecel Zimbabwe subscribers  – your mobile operator is upgrading its data network in a project that is expected to improve data service quality and coverage while giving the operator room to introduce some new services.

According to Telecel, this network upgrade project which is a response to a growing consumption of data services will replace low capacity base stations with high capacity ones.

Telecel did not share the total investment being poured into this upgrade, so it’s probably not as massive as a rollout of new base stations in untapped markets.

All the same, it seems that this network project which will be carried out in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru, Chinhoyi, Karoi and Masvingo is Telecel’s first investment in large scale service coverage in quite a while.

According to the latest national telecoms report from the industry regulator, POTRAZ, out of the local three mobile operators Telecel was the only one that didn’t invest in new base stations between October and December last year.


During the same period, NetOne, the second largest operator invested in 156 2G base stations, 148 3G base stations and 20 LTE base stations. Econet, the largest operator set up 41 3G base stations and 146 LTE base stations. Telecel is clearly lagging behind in base station coverage, an area that has been a mark of network presence outside the few limited cases of shared infrastructure arrangements.

Besides just focusing on increasing their average revenue per user totals, mobile operators are always working on improving their network coverage by establishing their presence in new viable areas, thereby creating the widest network possible. This requires capital which is either generated from running operations or through leveraged finance.

For Telecel, a network expansion plan is imperative since it has the smallest market share for both 2G (16.2%) and 3G (16.8%) base stations, along with a falling subscriber market share which was last recorded at 15.1% against NetOne’s 32.4% and Econet’s 52.5%.

While reserving capital from operational profit might seem even harder for Telecel than its peers (it has the smallest revenue share with 11.5% which is a drop from 12.1% in the previous quarter) its absence on the new base station front is likely a reflection of a shortage of capital for aggressive expansion, something that its new majority owner, the government, will hopefully be able to remedy.

Or better yet, infrastructure sharing will kick in soon and spare the government the duplicity of investing in infrastructure for both of its operators. Until then, Telecel will have to continue employing methods like this latest network upgrade just to keep up with competing mobile operators.


  1. Fourwallsinaroom says:

    Who owns Telecel right now as we speak?

  2. E says:

    In middle of handover to fovernment.
    But in terms of investment capital seems like they will burden tax player by double charging i.e pay 100m for netone pay 200m for telecel for the same service with telone not too far off ftom its own mobile netowrk

  3. Trey says:

    More than a week after NetOne introduced 48hr data bundles, im amazed you still havent written about that.. They are also advertising the Re-appear bundles on your website.. ko how far maboss

    1. Fourwallsinaroom says:

      maybe they are pushing for Econet and Telecel…. enter MacD kikiki.

      No I agree Techzim there is a lot going on and you are not writing much. Do you need people to write for you…? I think MacD and I could come up with something really interesting

      1. Macd Chip says:

        Sure Fourwallsinaroom! Nigel is drowning and Victor gone…

        1. Fourwallsinaroom says:

          Victor had a tough time! His reporting was great but he did not research enough. He should come bck though the articles always had something good to discuss..
          have you seen the other site macd?

      2. REWMO says:

        This website loves econet, thats not a secret.

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