Once the service is operating, Buddie customers will be able to travel to any country and still use their phone, and also to top up using local recharge cards bought in the country which they are visiting. The service, which has always been available to contract customers, has been made possible by the introduction of dollarisation in Zimbabwe.
Engineers at Econet aworking with the company’s suppliers have begun work to install the system which will allow the service to be launched before the end of the year, Radiovop was reliably told.
The plan is for the service to be launched first with one of the South African networks, Cell C, with whom Econet already has a strategic working relationship.
Once the system is in place Econet’s Buddie customers can roam in South Africa, while customers of Econet Wireless South Africa (EWSA) will be able to roam in Zimbabwe.
The proposed launch of the new service has created a lot of excitement from Econet customers on both sides of the border, with some customers already trying to roam on their phones.
A spokesperson for the company told Radiovop: "We know that people think the service is already available but we really are still a few months away from the service. But it is definitely coming."
The launch of Buddie roaming is one of the biggest projects planned by Econet for this year. The company is busy expanding network capacity throughout the country, and expects its customer base to cross 2 million this year.
Econet is also launching 3-G services having been finally given the frequencies by the regulator. The GPRS service is already operational, and the company is currently in negotiations for a Blackberry licence so that its business customers can send and receive emails.