The service was launched in Epworth, a shanty town on the east of the capital, Harare.
The free phone service will be run under Econet’s YourFone brand and targets people in economically disadvantaged communities.
Under the service, people from economically disadvantaged communities, will now be able to use phones operated in strategic locations, to contact their relatives, asking them to call back.
“The service will be made widely available across the country, whether in rural communities or urban areas. Not owning a cellphone will no longer be a barrier to communication. What people will be able to do is approach an operator who has one of the free phones and contact their relatives who own Econet mobile phones, asking them to call them back, for no charge at all,” said Ranga Mberi, Econet corporate communications manager.
Mberi said as the largest operator, the company is using its leadership position to “make sure our communities, and the nation at large, also develop economically.”
The investment will be a major contributor towards helping the country’s efforts in meeting development goals in improving access to telecommunications.
Econet has been aggressively rolling out payphones over the past six months, targeting rural areas and high-density suburbs.
This payphone roll-out has been made possible by the massive network expansion that has taken Econet to more areas, making it the network with the widest coverage in the country.
Econet controls 70 percent of the mobile market share ahead of Telecel and Net One.