Speaking at a Computer Society of Zimbabwe function yesterday, Spiritage Communications Managing Director Mr. Kangai Maukazuva disclosed the company has deployed a 3.9G network. Maukazuva was presenting the topic “Communication technologies for the future” to a huge group of information technology professionals. The presentation centered on the evolution in telecommunications to next generation networks (NGNs).
According to the Spiritage executives at the function, the company has deployed a TD-SCDMA network. TD-SCDMA is a 3G standard technology whose development has mainly been pushed by the Chinese government as an alternative to 3G technologies developed by Western countries. Spiritage is sourcing its network equipment from Chinese suppliers of the technology.
The function last night was also attended by Spiritage Group CEO Mr. Zachary Wazara as well as Mr. Parkvoo Mutendera, the group Chief Commercial Officer.
Spiritage, as you may know, launched voice and data services last month. The company is currently pushing three devices that were on display last night; an indoor Internet access device (that connects to the Spiritage network wirelessly and can provide Wi-Fi to 20 concurrent users), a desk phone (that can do SMS, voice, and internet) and a push-to-talk device (that can be used as an internet modem, provides SMS and conventional voice). The packaging boxes of two of those devices are in the picture below.
The price of the Wi-Fi device is about $250. For home users we imagine this is a good deal. If you’re trying to avoid the high fixed WiMax equipment cost and TelOne is telling you they have no more ADSL capacity, you should find out more about the product. The price of the service per megabyte is quite attractive too at US $0.068.
Though these devices are available right now, there’s literally no information about the products on the internet, the one place you’d expect an internet company to be heavily present. It’s therefore very hard to get information save for calling Spiritage or physically visiting their offices, if you’re lucky enough to know where they are. The Brodacom website shown on the boxes (www.brodacom.co.zw) loads some default Apache page which no one bothered to replace with the company’s proper branding. And as for the website that Spiritage briefly brought online last month (www.brodacom.com) there’s still the unbranded “website coming soon!” sign.
The current spin on the lack of internet presence from Mutendera is that Spiritage deliberately don’t want to have any presence on the internet right now. He says that, even though the company has product boxes with a web address on them, so we don’t understand (read believe) this at all.
While Spiritage has launched voice services, interconnection has only been made with the Econet network right now. In summary, subscribers buying the Brodacom voice service right now cannot call Telecel, NetOne, TelOne and Africom numbers. Africom, an IAP that launched voice services almost 3 months ago, has also had major delays interconnecting with mobile operators. Africom has live interconnection with Telecel only at the moment.
The Spiritage executives explained that interconnection was not a problem at all and that the process is just procedurally a long one. Again, we didn’t find this completely understandable but if the IAPs themselves are not complaining, why should we?
And as for 3.9G, a company tagging the generation of its network is more a marketing effort than an actual on-the-ground performance measurement. In fact the marketing speak of 3G, 4G and so forth is downright abused world over and in our opinion should not drive any decisions on adopting a service.