Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has strengthened its partnership with Ericsson at the recently completed Mobile World Congress 2023 in Barcelona, Spain. This move comes as it prepares for 5G expansion by modernizing its Radio Access Network (RAN) and mobile Core network across Zimbabwe.
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 modernize the existing Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network to a cloud-native dual-mode 5G Core as well as upgrade the Unified Data Management (UDM) solution. The agreement with Econet also includes Ericsson’s cloud infrastructure solutions, the Circuit Switch Core modernization, and the introduction of the IP Multimedia System (IMS) for Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi).
Modernizing 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 with the modernized packet core network. Along with enhancing its user experience, Econet will also benefit from increased network coverage and capacity.
The network modernization will include Econet’s existing 2G, 3G and LTE networks, along with Ericsson’s latest 5G multi-band, multi-sector radios, such as Radio 4466, which offer capacity expansion, energy efficiency and an average 15% reduction in tower load. Through the partnership, Econet will realize greater LTE indoor penetration and continue its seamless deployment of 5G, Narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and private networks.
Early last year, Ericsson partnered with Econet to launch 5G across Zimbabwe. The modernization of Econet’s network infrastructure through Ericsson’s enhanced Radio Access Network (RAN) portfolio and core portfolio will complement the digital infrastructure goals of the Smart Zimbabwe 2030 agenda and bring Econet closer to attaining 5G market leadership in the country.