Mobile and IOT solutions provider Workz Group and Econet Zimbabwe have announced a deal that will provide Zimbabwean subscribers with network connectivity via embedded SIM devices such as the iPhone XS/XR/11 and Microsoft Surface Pro X.
In a statement issued by the companies, a market launch can be expected “in the coming months”, but once available, users will be able to connect to Econet’s network without a physical SIM.
The collaboration between Workz and Econet is expected to make Zimbabwe only the second country in Africa to adopt the next-generation SIM technology.
Workz has launched similar projects across North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East in the past 12 months.
In July 2019 the company announced the opening of an office in Dakar, Senegal, its second location on the continent after establishing an office in Johannesburg in June 2018.
Workz claims to be the first GSMA-certified full eSIM provider in the Middle East and Africa, and one of only six in the world to carry such an accreditation.
Tor Malmros, Managing Director of the Middle East and Africa for Workz Group said: “We are proud to work with our long-term partners Econet on another highly innovative project. We expect eSIM technology will make a significantly positive impact on people’s lives, and we hope Econet Zimbabwe subscribers can start enjoying this enhanced experience very soon.”
Rufaro Nelson, the project lead for Econet Zimbabwe added: “This is yet another ground-breaking initiative which serves to enhance the Econet customer experience. For this project, we have had the benefit of working with a strong local partner in Workz, which with the support of their incredible technical team has allowed us to complete comprehensive development and testing in a highly efficient timeframe. Together, we look forward to being the first to bring this new technology to Zimbabwe and Econet subscribers in the very near future.”
The partners reference research by Markets and Markets which estimates that the eSIM market will grow from nearly US$300-million in 2018 to over US$1-billion by 2023 with hyper-adoption expected following the launch of several new consumer eSIM devices from the likes of Apple and Samsung and several more manufacturers planning to follow suit.
Econet is among several telecommunications firms in Zimbabwe that have had to increase mobile voice call and data tariffs as economic challenges remain in the Southern African country.
The Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) justified the tariff adjustments saying the previous tariff schedule was no longer valid owing to continued cost escalations for operators.
“The authority has found it necessary to review tariff thresholds for telecommunication services by 95,39 percent based on the Telecommunication Price Index (TPI) that was computed in consultation with all operators,” the regulator stated.
In its presentation of the company’s financial results for the year ended 28 February 2019, executives confirmed the intention to pursue data revenue growth initiatives.