Ericsson and Econet Wireless Zimbabwe prepare for 5G

03 March 2023

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has strengthened its partnership with Ericsson as it prepares for 5G expansion by modernising its Radio Access Network (RAN) and mobile core network across Harare, Zimbabwe.

Through upgrades in its mobile core and RAN solutions, Ericsson will help accelerate Econet’s digital transformation journey. The network upgrade will pave the way for Econet to deliver 5G connectivity in more locations, unlocking advanced consumer and enterprise use cases.

As part of the mobile core evolution, Ericsson will modernise the existing Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network to cloud-native dual-mode 5G core, as well as upgrade the Unified Data Management (UDM) solution. The scope of the agreement with Econet also includes Ericsson’s cloud infrastructure solutions, the Circuit Switch Core modernisation and the introduction of IP Multimedia System (IMS) for Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi).

Modernising Econet's network infrastructure will enable a wide range of services to subscribers, including high-definition VoLTE and applications that require low latency and improved responsiveness. High-speed internet will be enabled through 4G and 5G radio access networks, coupled to the modernized packet core network. Along with enhancing user experience, Econet will also benefit from increased network coverage and capacity.

The network modernisation will include Econet’s existing 2G, 3G and LTE networks, with Ericsson’s latest 5G multi-band, multi-sector radios – such as Radio 4466 – which offers capacity expansion, energy efficiency and an average of 15 percent reduction in tower load. Through the partnership, Econet will realise greater LTE indoor penetration and continue its seamless deployment of 5G, Narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and private networks.

“Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is on a mission to realise an advanced 5G ecosystem in the country. Our latest partnership with Ericsson brings us closer to realising this ambition with 5G expansions in more locations,” said Mr Roy Chimanikire, deputy CEO at Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. “Powering several digital technologies, 5G will play a pivotal role in realising many of the goals outlined in the Smart Zimbabwe 2030 agenda, notably in smart industrialization. Working alongside Ericsson, we aspire to build a high-performing 5G network that will not only deliver high connectivity but also support industrial and societal advancements in Zimbabwe.”

“We have enjoyed a close and productive partnership with Econet for more than two decades, and we remain committed to supporting them in strengthening their network infrastructure as Zimbabwe lays out ambitious digital plans,” said Todd Ashton, vice president and head of Ericsson South and East Africa at Ericsson Middle East and Africa. “Our solutions will provide Econet with incredible speeds and mobility and introduce next-generation connectivity services seamlessly. It will also accelerate the introduction of new 5G use cases that will support the nation’s digitalisation momentum and assert its position in the growing digital economy.”