Monday, May 20, 2024
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As the telecommunications industry continues to evolve in the digital age, Econet Telecom Lesotho remains steadfast in its commitment
to enhance its network infrastructure, services, and overall customer
experience. The telecommunications giant is at the forefront,
driving innovation and transformation within this sector in Lesotho.
Under the leadership of Mr. Dennis Plaatjies who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Econet has embarked on a comprehensive modernization initiative aimed at revolutionizing its network, operations, and offerings.

In this exclusive interview, Mr. Dennis Plaatjies unpacks the details
of this modernization project and what it has in store for customers
in the mountainous Kingdom.

What is this Mobile Network modernization about and how much will it cost?

Dennis Plaatjies (DP): Mobile network modernization is all about high-capacity network and stable transmission. It entails the replacement of the current technology with the latest radio technology, uplink capacity improvement including upgrading the current routers to the latest models, upgrading of the network management system to a newer version which has more advanced architecture, more powerful management, and stronger features. A newer version consistent with the deployment of modern technology. To embark on this important
initiative, we have set aside around M100 million.

Can you outline the key objectives behind Econet Telecom Lesotho’s recent investments in network modernization?

DP: Our primary objective is to enhance the overall telecommunications experience for all our valued customers across Lesotho and relieve congestion on major town centres. We aim to keep providing the fastest and reliable connectivity that meets the evolving needs of individuals, businesses, and communities. This involves expanding the deployment of fastest broadband technologies across the country with fibre-optic networks in all the major cities. This modernization
effort aligns with our commitment to innovation and our vision of being
Lesotho’s leading digital service provider.

What specific upgrades or improvements can customers expect from this modernization initiative?

DP: The modernization initiative encompasses the expansion of
our 4G network coverage as well as the significant improvement of
our network capacity and speed. We are enhancing our network capacity to accommodate the growing demand for various segments
of Lesotho’s economy and ensure seamless connectivity, even during
periods where the usage is very high. Overall, customers can expect a
significant improvement in network performance and overall quality of
service. We aim to provide solutions for businesses and entrepreneurs
to have better access to markets, suppliers, and customers
both domestically and internationally. These solutions will enable
them to leverage digital technologies for marketing, e-commerce,
and online payments, thereby enhancing efficiency, productivity,
and competitiveness.

How will these investments contribute to the socio-economic development of Lesotho?

DP: Through these modernization efforts, we are also expanding
access to communication services, including voice calls, internet connectivity, and digital ECONET TELECOM LESOTHO’S NETWORK
MODERNIZATION INVESTMENT platforms. This increased connectivity
will enable individuals and communities to access information, educational resources, healthcare services, and economic opportunities more easily, bridging the digital divide and fostering socio-economic
inclusion. This, in essence, means communities that were initially
financially excluded can now have access to services such as Eco-
Cash and EcoSure for the benefit of their loved ones, internet connectivity in their homes thus expanding the availability of learning
resources for children online.

Could you provide insights into the timeline for the rollout of
these modernization efforts?

DP: Phase 1 of the rollout is already underway, and the expectation is
to complete it in May 2024. We are making steady progress across
the Central and Northern regions of Lesotho such as Maseru, Berea,
Leribe and Butha-Buthe. Our goal is to complete the modernization
initiative in a timely manner. We are committed to keeping our customers informed about the progress and ensuring minimal, if any,
disruption during the transition period.

How does Econet Telecom Lesotho plan to ensure the affordability of services amid these upgrades?

DP: Affordability remains a key priority for us as we upgrade our network. While we are investing in cutting-edge technology
and infrastructure, we are also mindful of the need to offer calling
and data bundles that are affordable and available from as little as
M2 to our valued customers. We already have packages such
as GenZ and school packages whose positive impact cannot be
ignored, and the plan is to build on this. Through strategic pricing
strategies and innovative service offerings, we aim to ensure that our
services remain accessible to all segments of the population, thereby
maximizing the benefits of our modernized network for everyone
in Lesotho.

How does Econet Telecom Lesotho envision the future of telecommunications in Lesotho following these investments?

DP: Our vision revolves around continued innovation, growth, and
inclusivity. With our modernized network infrastructure in place, we
envision a digital ecosystem where connectivity is seamless, affordable,
and accessible to all. This ecosystem will serve as a catalyst
for economic development, social empowerment, and technological
advancement, driving progress across all sectors of society. As
a leading digital services provider, we are committed to playing a central role in shaping this future and delivering transformative benefits to the people of Lesotho.

Are there any additional insights you’d like to share regarding Econet Telecom Lesotho’s network modernization efforts?

DP: I would like to emphasize that our network modernization efforts
represent a significant investment in the future of Lesotho’s telecommunications infrastructure. We are leveraging the latest technologies and best practices to ensure that our network meets the evolving needs of our customers and supports the country’s socio-economic development goals. This initiative underscores our unwavering commitment to delivering world-class telecoms services and driving positive change in the communities we serve. We are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and remain
dedicated to realizing the full potential of connectivity in Lesotho.
Once the project is completed, customers will no longer struggle to connect with both data and voice services during peak hours
of the day due to congestion.

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