As you may already know, Econet announced its full year audited financials yesterday. We posted a bit about it yesterday but there wasn’t much besides the impressive profit figures the telecoms firm continues to post. Today we have more details; information on the company’s plans this year, their operation challenges, what they are doing to overcome them, EcoCash uptake, Ecolife, Average revenue per user, their gratitude to POTRAZ and other such.
Revenues & Tariffs
- The Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) for the period increased by 6% from $9,78 to $10,33. The company says it will maintain it at not less than $10 going forward.
- POTRAZ, the Zim telecoms regulator, was commended for implementing the cost-based tariff model. POTRAZ also praised for having policies that are supportive of growth.
- Econet tariffs are comparable in the region. Econet Zimbabwe compares favorably to South Africa operators Vodacom and MTN but is more expensive than Airtel in Zambia and Mascom in Botswana.
- The company is experiencing major delays getting approval for new base station sites. Roads to sites are deteriorating and the company sometimes has to literally construct its own roads to access certain sites.
- There is a team from head office (EWG) spearheading initiatives and innovations on solar products to make sure that users in rural areas have access to the network.
- The costs of powering base stations is very high as at times as many as 70% of the company’s base stations are on generator power.
- About the cost of running the base stations, CEO, Douglas Mboweni said: “We are doing something about it and have taken an initiative to equip the base stations to report back to the head office if the diesel is being consumed at a rate above normal…using electronic reporting system via SMS,”
- Econet will be deploying micro base stations in city buildings so that indoor coverage is balanced.
- Econet engineers are currently working with suppliers to come up with rural base stations at a fraction of the costs incurred in urban areas.
- He said because of the widest coverage of the network the group will be introducing location based services as part of overlays. (we not sure what kind they will be but we’ll sure follow this up)
- The company completed the Harare–Bulawayo–Beitbridge, Harare–Masvingo–Beitbridge and Harare–Chirundu optic fibre routes.
- The CEO says while new internet providers have come to the market, out of the licensed 11 players, the company only considers 3 to be serious contenders: “We have seen their traffic and we have not felt challenged.”
- Econet will increase data coverage and capacity and expand product offerings for overlays to include solar, health and mobile money services.
- The company will emphasize the distribution of low cost data capable devices
EcoCash Mobile Money Transfer service
- Econet had 31 “New Generation shops” to enhance customer experience and expanded distribution footprint to over 1 600 outlets and over 1 400 EcoCash agents currently spread across the country.
- Giving an outlook Mboweni noted that voice continued to be strong and will continue until “we cover the whole population” and maintain market leadership.
- On the case for EcoCash in Diaspora remittances Econet says nearly R5 Billion is sent to Zimbabwe from South Africa annually and they therefore see a huge opportunity.
- Locally the company is working on growing mobile money where there will be no need to handle cash and is finalising one of the best advanced platforms that will enable wallet to wallet transactions including banks interface.
- Econet wouldn’t give provide any details on how much money is being transacted through EcoCash insisting that the service needs to stabilise first before they can do that. According to the CEO, this process takes at least 2 years for such products.
- The mobile-based life insurance product remains terminated but Econet will meet any needs that present themselves in the market.
- The company established 15 state-of-the-art resource centresand libraries ion selected schools with complete e-learning facilities.
- The company assists over 50,000 nationwide orphans at any given time (payment of fees from primary to university level)
- Financed the re-opening of the University of Zimbabwe medical school with over $1.2 million
- Assists over 100 academically gifted students each year with scholarships. 650 students have benefited so far and over 30 of those are at Ivy-League American colleges.
You may also want to check out Econet’s Investor Relations website, which has been updated with the latest results and has a neat presentation from where we extracted some of this information.