Some Econet mobile broadband subscriber stats. eTXT. EconetMail

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Yesterday, we got the opportunity to discuss a few things about Econet Broadband with Leon de Fleuriot, the Chief Commercial Officer – Broadband at Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. We talked about the number of mobile broadband subscribers, eTXT, EconetMail and other things. We also discussed some issues Techzim readers suggested on our Facebook Page and Twitter.

We particularly found the mobile broadband usage stats quite interesting especially as they relate to Zimbabwe’s total Internet penetration and internet usage. Here are the figures:

  • 1.7 million mobile broadband users
  • 600,000 subscribers accessing internet services through eTXT
  • There’s an overlap of users of about 200,000 between the two figures which means aggregate unique users of 2.1 million subscribers.
  • Internet users growing by between 50,000 and  60,000 subscribers a month
  • About 140,000 subscribers use EconetMail and the number is growing.

The number of mobile broadband users of course doesn’t tell the whole Zim story, what would be more interesting would be getting the numbers from the other operators as well (which we will try) and have a figure that closer to the true internet penetration in Zimbabwe. It’s clear though that Econet alone contributes about 17% internet penetration in Zimbabwe.

The EconetMail figure there is something that came as a surprise. We didn’t expect the concept of a mobile phone number as an email address to gain much traction but, according to de Fleuriot, it has. EconetMail usage is actually growing steadily even though Econet is not actively promoting it he says.

Some responses to reader questions:

Price reduction

The dominant question by far was “when will mobile broadband tariffs come down?” The response here is that subscribers should expect some price reductions in the new year as more equipment to support the growing mobile broadband subscriber base is installed.


BlackBerry Services

BlackBerryAnother popular question was one on BlackBerry services. “ask them if i should throw away my blackberry” one reader suggested. de Fleuriot’s response to this is that they cannot tell as the issue involves the telecoms regulator. He hinted though that BlackBerry services are not exactly on the rise globally and subscribers shouldn’t expect a game changing BlackBerry when it does launch. Now since most people think of BlackBerry services in the sense of cost convenience it represents in the South African market, he seemed to also suggest even if BlackBerry services launched, it’d be nothing like the R65 per month service the South Africans enjoy.

Mobile broadband speed

For some time now Econet broadband has been capped at 250kbps speed. One reader’s question was when Econet will unlock and provide faster speeds. de Fleuriot says the speed limit was actually increased to 2.5mbps starting September this year. Attaining that speed though still depends on location, density of subscribers in that cell and time of browsing (peak or off peak that is).

Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)

MMS is coming early next year but de Fleuriot was quick to mention that it may not be the hit that it was for some markets outside Zimbabwe as MMS has mostly been superseded by mobile broadband services like WhatsApp.

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  • Magneto

    Guys I like your ambition but to get the chance to Interview the CCO of a $700m firm and come with such a luck-lustre is unforgiveable to say the least… Ask/Consult some of us in the Industry for input. Your pet-project is now hit the big league guys so you gotta go extremely professional…

  • Magneto

    “luck-lustre commentary”

  • kmberi

    Not sure the issue of the poor speed of Econet “broadband” was adequately dealt with whilst we appreciate that there are factors that cause “real-world” speeds of on average a tenth of the stated installed capacity the important issue when are they going to resolve those problems? There are obviously technical solutions to those problems or else every other carrier in the would be running at less than a tenth of their network potential

  • Developer

    Typo error there….Blackberry Services are R60 in South Africa, not R65

  • Frustrated

    If anything can be said for internet services is that they have a network thats huge and accomodates a variety of devices at various speeds, currently very few of those 2.1 million enjoy what I will term a complete broadband experience that is one with streaming inside a couple of seconds and the downloads under a minute to get a single megabyte, to me the word broadband just doesnt apply, its so sad to then get billed when you want content and applications not just look at social networking sites which get optimized anyway to cater for huge traffic volumes, something the network should focus on not maintain a billing system better to siphon subscribers with.

  • http://twitter.com/KuraiMGT KuraiMGT

    I wouldn’t say its lack-lustre, but very short to the point of trivialising the issued covered. After interviewing the who is who at econet, we would have loved to get more flesh to bonny issues all subscribers from Kariba to Chiredzi face, esp. the broadband coverage, reliability and speeds. lol

  • Anonymous

    how does one activate mms

  • http://www.techzim.co.zw L.S.M. Kabweza

    Send an SMS with the word “ALL” to 222,
    Receive device settings and save them. 

  • http://www.techzim.co.zw L.S.M. Kabweza

    Send an SMS with the word “ALL” to 222,
    Receive device settings and save them.

  • Anonymous

    world class response. Thank you

  • ras bobo

    its not working