As promised last week at the launch of the new red Africom, Africom has launched their mobile broadband service this week. The mobile broadband service is available in Harare only at the moment. Well, Harare except Mabvuku, Tafara & Chitungwiza. Sorry folks. We’ve been told these areas are getting coverage in the next few weeks. And all cities and towns along the Bulawayo – Mutare road, several weeks later.
So, if you’re in Harare we’d say, go for it. And the reason is this: It’s free unlimited bandwidth until 10 October.
Before we go any further, a small clarification here: the bandwidth is free but the USB dongle is not. It’s US $70 (excluding VAT) for the USB dongle. We think this is still a very great deal. To put in good perspective, consider that Ecoweb sells their mobile WiMax USB dongle for US $175. And like we said back then when we reviewed Ecoweb’s 4G, we were able find the same spec dongles on the Internet for only US $60. But that’s another story.
It’s not clear yet what Africom will charge after this free bandwidth promotion expires, but we hear it’ll be usage based and something around 19 US cents per megabyte.
What should you expect to get in terms of speed? That’s hard to say with certainty because we haven’t tested the service yet. The few people we’ve talked to say they’re loving it. We will try to get a dongle this week and test for ourselves (well, for you actually), but before that maybe just hinting the technology behind the service will give you an idea.
The wireless broadband service is based on CDMA2000 EV-DO Rev. A, a 3rd generation technology promising peak download speeds of up to 3.1mbps.
Africom becomes the 4th operator to offer mobile broadband after TelOne (CDMA), PowerTel (CDMA) and Econet (EDGE, Mobile WiMax).