NetOne mobile broadband to drive financial inclusion

NETONE says its recently launched National Mobile Broadband (NMBB) programme will enhance the country’s efforts towards expanding financial inclusion through the firm’s mobile money platform, One Money, NetOne acting chief executive officer (CEO) Raphael Mushanawani said.

The NMBB will result in installation of over 340 base stations across the country with, predominantly, 3G, 4G, and 5G technologies as the project is aimed at growing NetOne’s network coverage, mainly in borderline and remote areas countrywide.

Mushanawani said NetOne intended to leverage the network expansion programme to broaden its mobile money platform services particularly by targeting the marginalised segments of the Zimbabwean population.

The NMBB will not only increase digital connectivity, but also enhance social and economic opportunities that come along with building a strong digital economy.

In an interview on the sidelines of the Chanakira base station launch in Wedza on Wednesday, Mushanawani highlighted that the NMBB phase three will contribute significantly to the company’s objective of growing financial inclusion mainly amongst women and businesses in the informal sector.

“NMBB will enhance the network coverage mainly in marginalised border areas where we want to bring coverage, meaning that the population will now be able to communicate flawlessly, thus bridging the digital divide and connecting Zimbabweans to the global village.

“Our services, especially One Money, will now be accessible, so the unbanked will now be able to be financially included through improved network coverage that we are bringing in with this network expansion program we are currently on,” said Mushanawani.

He also highlighted that the network expansion drive by NetOne will tap into wide-ranging opportunities availed by the ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)  by setting up high-speed technologies across the country.

“…as a company we intend to leverage on the development of 4IR through the provision of high-speed connectivity that will facilitate the communication within local industries.

“The network expansion program will see more 4G base stations being installed and we are also moving towards 5G, all those technologies speak to the high-speed provision of data thus enabling business intelligence as information will now be able to flow quite easily,” he added.

Officially commissioned by Information Communication Technology Minister Jenfan Muswere, the Chanakira base station will benefit 12 000 people in the Ward 9 area of Wedza.

The 60 metre base station has a network range from 2G to 4G and has room for expansion to 5G.

NMBB phase 3 project is a strategic cooperation between China and Zimbabwe that intends to help improve economic efficiencies, production across economic sectors through Information Communication and Technology (ICT).

It is expected to increase NetOne’s national coverage from about 75 percent to 85 percent, improve 4G coverage, and will also see the introduction of 5G to cater to increased demand for data in the country.

The network expansion program ensures increased industrial connectivity, leading to reliable, affordable, accessible, and ever-present ICT services that support an inclusive digital economy.

NetOne’s market share has steadily gained market share to 0, 7 percent during the first quarter of 2021 to 28, 7 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2020. – Herald