Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe’s largest wireless operator in terms of subscribers, has published its financial results for the twelve months ended 28 February 2014, reporting a 14.7% year-on-year drop in net profit to USD119 million, down from USD140 million in the corresponding period of 2013; the slump was blamed on higher financing costs and depreciation. However, Econet’s revenues increased to USD753 million in the period under review, an 8% improvement on the USD695.8 million reported at end-February 2013, with data revenues surging by 62% to USD72.4 million. Econet’s mobile money platform, EcoCash, also experienced steady growth, with revenues generated by the service reaching USD33.4 million by end-February 2014, a four-fold increase y-o-y on the USD8.2 million reported in FY2013. Further, Econet revealed that it is currently repaying USD228 million in debts to various international banks; the funding represents the remainder of a loan used by the operator to expand its network infrastructure over the last four years.
In operational terms, Econet Wireless signed up 782,000 new subscribers in the twelve months ended 28 February 2014, bringing its total customer base to 8.78 million at that date. However, the operator pointed out that the net additions had little impact on revenue, as the voice business has matured. CEO Douglas Mboweni said: ‘We had long anticipated it and had begun to invest heavily in new services. We are beginning to see the fruit of that work.’