Burundi: Econet Wireless becomes Econet Leo, following buyout of U-Com, subsidiary of VimpelCom

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

(Agence Ecofin) - The telecom group Econet Wireless Group, belonging to the Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyiwa announced on 7th July 2015 the completion of the merger of its Burundian subsidiary with that of VimpelCom, U-Com Leo, bought as the same time as the Central African subsidiary in October 2014 for US$65 million.

The new operator, consisting of Econet Wireless and U-Com Leo has been called Econet Leo. It has 2.6 million customers for 242 direct employees.

In a market with competitors like Viettel, Smart, Tempo Africell who have clearly expressed their interest in becoming leader, Econet Wireless thought it wise to take over U-Com Leo's network and customers to expand its network coverage and increase its client base. This strategy has allowed the company to take the leadership of the Burundian telecommunications market and spare itself a long battle to win over new clients and also without spending a fortune to increase its network coverage.

However, not everything seems in place from a technical standpoint. Some subscribers have complained of numerous inconveniences, particularly the high price for internet access, the premature expiry of data packages which resulted in many claims lodged in the Econet Leo agencies, the free hotline 611 does not work anymore.
Source: Agence Ecofin 9 July 2015