Econet Wireless

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Econet Wireless
Traded as

ZSEECO (Zimbabwe subsidiary only)

Industry Conglomerate
Founded 1993
Headquarters Johannesburg, South Africa
Area served
South America
East Asia
Key people
Strive Masiyiwa
(Group Founder and Executive Chairman)
Hardy Pemhiwa
(Group Managing Director and CEO)
Revenue Increase US$ 3 billion (2011)

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 Global, Econet Wireless Africa, Econet Wireless International, Econet Enterprises, Liquid Telecom Group and Econet Media.[2]


Econet Wireless was created in 1993 in Zimbabwe by Strive Masiyiwa. Initially it was meant to be called "Enhanced Communications Network" but was later abbreviated to Econet.[3]

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

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 Enterprises. Within 18 months of its launch, 31% of Zimbabwe's adult population registered to the service.[5]

In February 2013, Econet acquired a controlling interest in the then TN Bank Zimbabwe, one of the local commercial banks in Zimbabwe, and renamed it 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.[6] In October 2014, Econet Wireless acquired VimpelCom's Telecel in Burundi (U-COM) and Telecel in the Central African Republic (Telecel RCA) for $65 million[7]

In 2014, the listed Econet Wireless Zimbabwe announced a 14.7% drop in annual profits, from $140 million down to $119 million.[8] In October 2015, due to dropping benefits, following a state regulator-enforced tariff reduction, the company announced a 100-employee layoff to cope with the losses.[9] In 2015, due to increasing losses, the group imposed a 20% salary cut to its employees in Zimbabwe, and negotiated a 15% discount with its suppliers, even though its service EcoCash continues to prosper in the country.[10]

In June 2015, despite the economic turmoil, the company distributed $15 million in dividends to shareholders.[11]

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 headquartered in Johannesburg.[5] The holding company of the Econet group is registered in Mauritius.


  • Econet: Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, Econet Wireless South Africa, Econet Telecom Lesotho, Mascom Botswana, Econet Leo, Telecel RCA, Bharti Airtel Nigeria, Econet Wireless UK , Trilogy International Partners, 2 Degrees Mobile (New Zealand), Nueva Tel (Viva Bolivia), Trilogy Dominicana (Viva Dominica)
  • Liquid Telecom Group: Neotel, ZOL, Transaction Payment Solutions, Liquid Telecom Zambia, Liquid Telecom Botswana, Liquid Telecom Rwanda, Liquid Telecom DRC, Liquid Telecom Tanzania, Infocom, Liquid Telecom Kenya, East Africa Data Centre
  • Steward Bank
  • EcoCash: EcoCash provides a saving account, international 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[12]
  • Econet Renewable Energy: Manufacturer and distributor of solar, wind and off-grid energy products, for the global market, and in particular developing countries. The Home Power Station was first launched in Durban during the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).[13] Following the success of Home Power, Econet has now also ventured into wind energy as well as off-grid power supply.
  • Solarway - a UAE-based solar power products provider.
  • EcoSchool - a Zimbabwean zero-rated e-learning service.
  • EcoHealth - a Zimbabwean mobile phone health advisory service.
  • Ruzivo - a Zimbabwean zero-rated e-learning service.
  • Cassava - a UK-based African mobile transactions solutions provider.
  • Cassava Remit - a UK-based online money transfer agent, remitting to South Africa and Zimbabwe.
  • Ownai - a Zimbabwean e-commerce service.
  • Cumii International - an Internet of Things (IoT) company, with products such as Connected Home, Connected Health, Connected Energy and Connected Car.
  • Imvelo Safari Lodges - an award-winning group of Zimbabwean ecotourism safari lodges.
  • Worldstream Systems and Services
  • Telelogistics


  1. ^ "Econet Wireless wins Best Telecom Services and Solutions Award - Africa". 
  2. ^ "Econet Companies". July 2016. 
  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 "Transaction banking is dead: Econet Wireless founder". 15 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Golden Sibanda (7 February 2013). "TN Bank to Delist From ZSE". 
  7. ^ "Econet Global buys Telecel East Africa operations". 20 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "Zimbabwe's Econet Wireless says full-year profit down 15 pct". 5 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Econet Wireless To Retrench". 7 October 2015. 
  10. ^ "Econet profits drop 52 percent". 16 October 2015. 
  11. ^ "Econet declares whopping $15m dividend". 2 June 2015. 
  12. ^ "EcoCash from Econet Wireless Zimbabwe". 
  13. ^ "Climate change and the private sector". 12 December 2011. 

External links[edit]