Based on its recent analysis of the broadband communications market in Africa, Frost & Sullivan recognises Econet Wireless with the 2011 Africa Frost & Sullivan Award for customer value enhancement. Econet Wireless is lauded for its strong ethical commitment to prioritising consumers in the implementation of its strategies.
"The data services that Econet Wireless offers suits almost every segment of the Zimbabwean broadband market," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Chipo Ngongoni. "Its proactiveness in combating the restraints in the broadband market, such as power outages and low disposable income, has resulted in the introduction of affordable, cost-effective access devices."
Despite the harsh economic conditions in Zimbabwe, Econet Wireless continues to upgrade and expand its network infrastructure. Its mobile network has the widest geographic coverage available currently in all the major cities in the country.
"This wide terrestrial network has contributed to the technological advantage that Econet Wireless offers," remarks Ngongoni. "The company was the first to carry out 3G trials in September 2009 in the Zimbabwean market and the further rollout of 3G will enable it to increase data revenues, sustain subscriber growth rates and boost market share."
Econet Wireless's loyalty programmes are aimed at building customer loyalty and decreasing customer churn. For instance, Ecolife is a mobile life insurance product paid monthly through being an Econet mobile subscriber.
"The life insurance policy is maintained by a subscriber buying a minimum of $3 per month for airtime or SMS," explains Ngongoni. "The more airtime purchased per month, the greater the cover received. This represents an affordable way of acquiring and maintaining life insurance cover."
In addition to Ecolife, Econet Wireless designs and offers a wide range of innovative value added services (VAS) aimed at addressing different consumer segments. For low income earners, there is an eTXT service which offers access to receive and send emails on any kind of handset in the form of an SMS. The eTXT service also gives GSM phones access to SNS's like facebook via SMS.
Other products and services aimed at enhancing subscriber value include EcoCash which offers mobile transfer of money and econetmail.com, a cloud based email service which is offered free to broadband subscribers.
Proactive device management has also been a focus area for Econet Wireless. To overcome the challenge of erratic power supply, Econet Wireless has been working on deploying more energy efficient solutions to power the network infrastructure and reduce network downtimes.
"Econet Wireless has launched Econet Energy which invests in renewable energy solutions offering solar-based chargers and solar handsets," elaborates Ngongoni. "In 2010, the company introduced an innovative low-cost, solar-powered handset device."
Due to low income levels, Zimbabwe is rife with grey handsets. These devices do not allow customers to experience the full advantages of the data services on the market.
"Econet is looking at ways to reduce the number of such devices by offering low-cost data devices," concludes Ngongoni. "These devices will be able to access both the EGDE and 3G networks, thus offering customers better connectivity and more value for money."
The Frost & Sullivan Award for Customer Value Enhancement is presented to the company that has demonstrated excellence in implementing strategies that proactively create value for its customers with a focus on improving the return on the investment that customers make in its services or products. This award recognises the company's inordinate focus on enhancing the value that its customers receive, beyond simply good customer service, leading to improved customer retention and ultimately customer base expansion.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.
About Econet Wireless
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is Zimbabwe's largest provider of telecommunications services, providing solutions in mobile and fixed wireless telephony, internet access, mobile money transfer and payment solutions.
Econet has a 70% share of the Zimbabwe mobile market, serving a subscriber base of six million as at September 2011.
Econet launched its network on the 10th of July 1998 and listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange on 17th September 1998. It is one of the largest companies on the exchange by market capitalisation. The company continuously upgrades its network to carry more subscribers, enhance service quality, broaden its range of products and services, and further widen its geographical coverage, which is already the most extensive in Zimbabwe.
About Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan (frost.com), the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best-in-class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The company's Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEO's Growth Team with disciplined research and best-practice models to drive the generation, evaluation, and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages 50 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from more than 40 offices on six continents.