Ecoweb’s 4G Mobile WiMax Coming Next Week

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We just got information that Ecoweb, the ISP arm of Zimbabwe telecoms giant, Econet, will start selling their 4G mobile WiMax next week. According to our source, Ecoweb is just waiting for an approval of the proposed pricing by the telecoms regulatory authority POTRAZ.

We got a glimpse of the pricing and hey, dear reader, if you want a piece of the latest (and ideally fastest) mobile internet in town, please prepare to reach deep into your pockets. The mobile WiMax dongle like the one pictured here will cost US $170. The dongle attaches to the USB port to enable your PC to connect to the WiMax network. Like Econet’s 3G, internet access is a flat monthly charge. But don’t let that ‘flat’ word fool you; it’s US $100 per month!

A usage based billing method has also been proposed but charges start at US $70 for half a gigabyte. Ecoweb’s competitor, ZOL is currently selling a gigabyte for $110 through its wireless hotspots spread across the country. Not to compare Wi-Fi to mobile WiMax of course; in terms of usability mobile WiMax is significantly superior.

There’s no telling if Ecoweb will stick to these prices at launch, and frankly we hope they don’t. Our advice to them is to revise downwards in the region of 50 – 60% to make it worthwhile for the typical Zimbabwean internet user. But then again, maybe this is not targeted at the average internet user.

4G, a cellular wireless standard, is the 3G successor. Econet launched 3G services on its network in August last year but suspended new subscriptions just a month after launch, citing capacity issues and has not resumed new subscriptions since.

Ideally, with mobile WiMax you should realise speeds in the range of 100Mbps. But please, don’t expect to get that, and it’s not just a Zim thing. Like any Internet access technology, the actual internet speed is as good (or as bad) as the outgoing international link. Downloads and uploads to local Zimbabwe sites should be reasonably faster though.

Will you buy yourself some 4G mobile WiMax at launch? We’d love to know your thoughts.

ZTE WiMax USB Dongle

A ZTE Mobile WiMax USB dongle

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  • Tarisai

    Any idea of how wide their coverage will be?

  • Kabweza

    They installed about 140 mobile WiMax base stations in Harare and a few more in Bulawayo and Gweru. We’re not sure about Mutare, Masvingo and the rest.
    Means the greater Harare will have coverage. Byo & Gweru will probably have coverage in the city centre and surrounding areas.

  • Tapiwa

    What speeds can we then expect? I’m so frustrated with econet right now coz on my line I get dial up speeds (50-100kbs) with edge and crappy speeds with hsdpa or 3g (150-230kbs!). These tests were conducted on http://www.speedtest.net

    In SA I was getting 1mbps with MTN HSDPA!

  • Kabweza

    There’s no telling @Tapiwa. waiting to get a hold of it and take it for a spin. We share your frustration.

  • http://www.engineeringideas.co.za Nyasha

    So you launch 3G it doesnt work, then you launch 4G???? Surely you would want to get the first right before you go for the big Kahuna!!! The costing is crazy, whats the use of having high speed internet access if you are paying 1990 prices for it? Econet needs a different business model here.

  • peter

    I think what we need is another competent competitor to launch 3G/4G services in Zimbabwe.This will make Econet to act when they should and improve when we complain.Their 3G network is disapointing to say the least and now they are launching 4G.

  • Rodwell

    I thnk time will tel,we have just recovered from serious netwak problems and still have issues with power which affects transmission base stations.its stil a journey to come…