Yesterday I spent the entire day in Kuwadzana struggling to use Econet’s network. I couldn’t text, call or access internet and EcoCash. And it wasn’t a situation I was facing alone. Many folks who use Econet in Chitungwiza and Mabvuka were complaining about the same problem(s).
@econet_support we have a network challenge in Waterfalls,Grobbie park cnr Bredon and Anadel lane.its more of a dead zone.last time u said out technicians are looking into it
— lovejoy mbedzi (@ljmmbedzi) July 1, 2019
@econet_support our network in Chitungwiza it's not even working for the best past 4 days , it's up and down , switching from 4g to 3g , Please Help the internet is not working pic.twitter.com/o5AxFQDFk0
— Brythreesixty (@Brythreesixty) July 1, 2019
@econet_support what’s happening with the network nhai. We’ve been having network problems for the past two days in Chitungwizs and you don’t even post a notice to say what’s happening. Your service is shitty tbh, maybe it’s time for a switch
— Zila 2019🇿🇼🇺🇸 (@Theo_Muzulu) July 1, 2019
— Bryan Targuadur (@Bryanchelsea11) July 1, 2019
@econet_support @econetzimbabwe come on guys, since yesterday your network has been down in Chitungwiza, everyone is complaining but y'all not even listening, should we switch to other networks. We want 4g not 2g
— $K 🍹 (@ShadayaKnight) July 2, 2019
So I ended up getting in touch with Econet asking if it was experiencing a technical issue.
Econet said they are not facing any technical issues but it’s just that the load shedding is affecting them as well. How so, when they have generators? Well, those generators are, as you well know, back up power sources that only can run for a little bit over 8 hours. So when your neighborhood is hit with more than 10 hours of loadshedding, diesel runs out and then the problem kicks in. Some will start to experience frequent network disruptions or for some, they don’t even receive a signal until electricity is switched on.
And the situation is further made worse by the widespread shortage of fuel such that even if they want to top up fuel in the generator, sometimes they wont be able to do that in a timely manner because of the long queues at fuel stations. In a written response Econet went on to say:
While we are doing our uttermost to ensure that we offer reliable service to our valued customers, the recent aggressive ZESA load shedding has created power issues impacting on the smooth delivery of our network service.
We – and the rest of the industry – are now having to deal with entire networks running on backup diesel generators on a daily basis, week in, week out.
The current acute fuel challenges across the country has unfortunately further impaired and limited the capacity of telcos to fuel the backup generators, resulting in intermittent downtimes at certain sites.
Despite the challenges, we remain committed to doing everything we can to offer the best service we can to our customers in the difficult circumstances.
How I got around Econet’s network disruption
I had to us Netone to get back online- it was working perfectly in my neighborhood (I don’t know for some places like Chitungwiza). And Telecel was working well too. However, switching over to another network didn’t entirely put away all my troubles since I needed to use EcoCash.
We just hoping that the load shedding ends or lessens or better yet, Econet comes up with a solution to prolong the time their backup power source can continue to power their base stations because so many people depend on EcoCash to make day-to-day payments.