Econet Wireless

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Econet Wireless Group
Traded as ZSEECO
Industry Telecommunications
Founded 1993
Headquarters Johannesburg, South Africa
Key people
Strive Masiyiwa, Group founder and Group Chairman
Products GSM-related products
Internet services
solar energy
Revenue Increase US$ 3 billion (2011)
Slogan Inspired to change your world! [1]

Econet Wireless is a diversified telecommunications group with operations and investments in Africa, Europe, South America and the East Asia Pacific Rim, offering products and services in the core areas of mobile and fixed telephony services, broadband, satellite, optical fiber networks and mobile payment.

The group's subsidiaries include Econet Wireless International, Econet Wireless Africa, Econet Solar International, Econet Wireless Group and Liquid Telecom.[2]


Econet Wireless was created in 1993 in Zimbabwe by Strive Masiyiwa.[3]

In 1998, Econet Wireless is granted a telephony licence, at a time when 70% of the country inhabitants had never heard a ringtone.[4]

In October 2014, Econet Wireless acquired VimpelCom's Telecel in Burundi (U-COM) and Central African Republic (Telecel CAR) for $65 million[5]

In 2014, Econet Wireless announced a 14.7% drop in annual profits, from $140 million down to $119 million.[6] In October 2015, due to dropping benefits, the company announced a 100-employee layoff to cope with the losses.[7] In 2015, due to increasing losses, the group imposed a 20% salary cut to its employees, and negotiated a 15% discount with its suppliers, even though its service EcoCash continues to prosper.[8]

In June 2015, despite the economic turmoil, the company distributed $15 million in dividends to shareholders.[9]

The group[edit]

Econet Wireless is a privately owned group, and is not listed on any stock exchange. One of its subsidiaries, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) and its activities are confined only to the Zimbabwe market.

The group is controlled by its founder, Strive Masiyiwa, and is based in London.[10]

Econet Wireless Global[edit]

Econet Wireless Global is the mobile telephony branch of Econet Wireless. It is the parent company of Liquid Telecom.

Econet Solar[edit]

Econet Solar is a manufacturer and distributor of solar products, for the global market, and in particular developing countries. The company's patented new solar product the Home|Power|Station has been installed around the Kwa Mashu area nestled in the valley of a thousand hills in KwaZulu-Natal. According to the company, these pilot units have been functioning well, and changing the lives of the people in the areas of installation. Similar pilot projects are currently being deployed in Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Burundi.[11]

The Home Power Station was first launched by Econet Wireless Executive Chairman, Strive Masiyiwa, in Durban during the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).[12]

Econet Wireless also owns a majority interest in US-based Seldon Technologies, a producer of nano-carbon filtration systems.[5]

Liquid Telecom[edit]

Liquid Telecommunications is an independent data, voice and IP provider, supplying wholesale optical fiber, satellite and international carrier services to telecommunications operators in developing countries. The subsidiary is based in Mauritius.[10]

Liquid owns and operate extensive fiber optical network infrastructure (in southern Africa) and multiple satellite ground facilities in the United Kingdom, Botswana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, Somalia, Burundi, Niger and Kenya, relying on three satellite transponders. Its worldwide hub is located in central London and serves as an additional point from which to provide interconnections to telecommunications operators worldwide. The company provides a range of wholesale international carrier services.

In December 2015, Liquid Telecom announced the launch of a project to connect eastern Africa and the Middle East with a submarine cable system that will bring high-speed internet to this part of the globe.[13]

Steward Bank Limited[edit]

In February, Econet acquired a controlling interest in the then TN Bank Zimbabwe, one of the commercial banks in Zimbabwe now called Steward Bank. The bank, whose shares were previously listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), were delisted when it became a wholly owned subsidiary of Econet.[14]


In 2005, Econet Wireless developed a mobile payment system to help NGOs make cash transfers to refugees after the Burundi war. The model was extended and integrated in Econet Wireless' technology, along with a credit solution.[4]

EcoCash was officially launched in 2011 and is operated by Econet Services, a separate subsidiary. Within 18 months of its launch, 31% of Zimbabwe's adult population registered to the service.[10]

Its focus is on P2P money transfers. EcoCash provides a saving account, interntional transfers, banking services, payroll services, and became a solution to pay for public transportation in October 2012. Since March 2013, EcoCash is also available as a payment solution for retailers[15]

The founder[edit]

Main article: Strive Masiyiwa

Econet Wireless was founded by Zimbawean National, Strive Masiyiwa, who first came to international prominence when he fought a landmark constitutional legal battle for five years in Zimbabwe. The ruling, which led to the removal of the monopoly of the state in telecommunications, is generally regarded as one of the key milestones in opening the African telecommunications sector to private capital.[citation needed] Strive Masiyiwa left Zimbabwe in March 2000, and lives in South Africa, with his family.


  1. ^ "Econet Wireless wins Best Telecom Services and Solutions Award - Africa". 
  2. ^ [dead link]
  3. ^ Isha Sesay, Chris Borg (20 August 2015). "'Africa is not going to be left behind or outside the data revolution'". 
  4. ^ a b Anna Leach (18 August 2014). "Zimbabwe’s Econet Wireless and the making of Africa’s first cashless society". 
  5. ^ a b "Econet Global buys Telecel East Africa operations". 20 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Zimbabwe's Econet Wireless says full-year profit down 15 pct". 5 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Econet Wireless To Retrench". 7 October 2015. 
  8. ^ "Econet profits drop 52 percent". 16 October 2015. 
  9. ^ "Econet declares whopping $15m dividend". 2 June 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c "Transaction banking is dead: Econet Wireless founder". 15 May 2015. 
  11. ^ [dead link]
  12. ^ "Climate change and the private sector". 12 December 2011. 
  13. ^ "African subsea cable network capacity to grow up to 30 Tbit/s in two years". 24 December 2015. 
  14. ^ Golden Sibanda (7 February 2013). "TN Bank to Delist From ZSE". 
  15. ^ "EcoCash from Econet Wireless Zimbabwe". 

External links[edit]