Covid-19 presented more opportunities for Econet

Despite having brought about numerous challenges to many companies in Zimbabwe, Covid-19 presented more business opportunities for the listed telecommunications giant, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited.

The pandemic which early this year brought most businesses to a standstill as governments across the globe shut borders and imposed lockdowns as part of measures to curb the spread of the disease.

Econet secretary, Charles Banda, said despite the pandemic having rendered some of their customers inactive, the company’s product remained in high demand.

“Our products and services have been critical in providing the much-needed connectivity as our customers observed physical distancing protocols required under the prevailing Covid-19 environment,” said Banda in a trading update for the period ended August 31, 2020.

“Data traffic increased as digital enablers were required in various sectors of the economy. Voice traffic increased by 7.9%, data consumption was up 63% whilst SMS traffic was up 41.6% compared to the previous half year period.”

He said the national lockdown had an impact on incomes as most business activity was curtailed to stem the spread of Covid-19.

“This resulted in a decline in the number of our active customers,” said Banda.

“As the lockdown restrictions are gradually eased, the company has experienced a steady increase in its active customer base. Targeted campaigns have also been launched to drive usage and sustain customer activity.”

The Covid-19 pandemic, Banda said, increased adoption and acceptance of digital channels for customer interactions and query resolution.

“Multiple digital touch points such as chat bots, web self-care, USSD self-care and WhatsApp helplines are now available for customer convenience and efficiency,” he explained.

“The increase in the adoption of these channels is the direct result of Covid-19 physical distancing and safety measures implemented by the company to protect its customers and our teams from infection. Meanwhile, telecommuting and serving our customers through digital channels has become our preferred way of doing business. We will continue to enhance these channels as a new way of conducting business.”

Banda added: “During the national lockdown our services enabled businesses, schools, churches, hospitals, individuals and all sectors of the economy to operate remotely, without any significant or prolonged service disruptions.”

He said despite the recent price adjustments to tariffs, the company has been able to sustain its volumes at the higher prices demonstrating resilience and adaptability of their operating model to changes in the operating environment.

“Whenever POTRAZ approves a price adjustment, we study our consumer consumption patterns and determine appropriate price points for our different consumer segments,” he said.

“Through the use of bundles and targeted offers, we are able to drive maximum usage without a significant drop in volumes when new prices are introduced.”

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