NetOne empowers rural communities

HARARE - State-owned mobile telecommunications service provider, NetOne, said its continued network expansion programme is aimed at stimulating economic activities in the country’s rural communities.

Officially launching a base station in Hurungwe last week, NetOne acting chief operations officer Lirford Toro said the development will also improve the ease of doing business and create market opportunities in the tobacco and paprika producing area.

“In addition to farmers benefiting from the technology that comes with the launch of the base station, we will also roll out kiosks for OneWallet mobile money transfer platform,” he said.

This comes as most rural areas in Zimbabwe still lack mobile network technology infrastructure despite the increasing rural demand for relevant and timely information and market knowledge.

NetOne, which is set to access over $400 million from the China Exim Bank next year for a project expected to put 3 000 base stations online, has so far disbursed over $155 million towards the implementation of its Phase II National Network Broadband Project

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa recently said, to date mobile soft-switch and media gateway with capacity of four million subscribers have been installed, while packet core network has been upgraded to support 4G technologies.

“On the wireless network, 2 003 second and third generation base stations (2G/3G) have been delivered, against a target of 2 236. Furthermore, 150 fourth generation base stations have been deployed, against a target of 300, coupled with the delivery and deployment of two Radio Network Controllers and three base station controllers,” he said.

On transmission, 561 microwave links have been delivered, against a target of 817, while 35 optical terminal equipment units have been delivered, against a target of 64.

The State-owned mobile operator, whose subscriber base has risen from 500 in 1996 to 5,1 million in 2016, is aiming to reclaim its pinnacle position in the telecommunications sector after it registered significant growth in the first quarter this year.

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