The top Zimbabwe tech stories we covered in 2011

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With less than two days left before the close of the year, we thought we’d post a listing of all the top stories we covered this year. This has been our busiest year since.

January 2011

ZOL and Yo Africa announce strategic alliance what seemed to be an alliance that would reshape internet service delivery in 2011, wasn’t mentioned ever again in the year.

Powertel Outage slows down internet in Zimbabwe, Techzim affected. With still lot of reliance on PowerTel, an outage on the PowerTel fibre line to Botswana’s BTC meant Zim’s internet grounding down.

EconetMail goes live. Announced in December 2010, the new Econet mail system went live.

Masawara acquire 50% of Telerix (Dandemutande)

 

February

RubieM to invest US 30 million in SIM & modem manufacturing plant. Dennis Magaya’s company announced at the beginning of February this year that his company was looking to invest in a electronics manufacturing plant in Zimbabwe.

PowerTelZim’s Internet slows down as PowerTel & Econet fibre cables experience outage. Another internet outage, this time on both PowerTel and Econet, slowed down the net again in the country.

Econet Launches ‘Econet Energy’ The green energy arm of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe launches.

The University of Zimbabwe holds Research & Intellectual Expo in Harare

Telecel makes the bold move of cutting out the extra cost of making calls outside the Telecel network for its subscribers. There’s no noticeable shakeup that was expected. The other players just ignore the move.

Telecel accuses NetOne of refusing to share passive infrastructure. Another bold by Telecel. This time CEO Aimable Mpore they come out and accuse NetOne of refusing to share infrastructure.

 

March

Econet launches eTXT. An SMS to Email, Chat and Facebook application that’s powered by ForgetMeNot Africa’s Message Optimiser software.

POTRAZ licenses Zimbabwe’s fourth mobile operator, TelOne. POTRAZ announces that it awarded State owned (and the only) fixed line operator, TelOne, a GSM license. The POTRAZ director general admits that the regulator doesn’t expect (or require) TelOne to start using the license any time soon.

CABS, POSB to use Telecel mobile banking platform through Zimswitch Mobile. Telecel disclosed to us that they are working with ZimSwitch on an integrated mobile banking solution.

Econet’s intention to launch BlackBerry courts the state’s interest A government newspaper hints that Econet may not be able to launch BlackBerry services without some regulatory hitches.

TelOne’s fibre connection on EASSy now live, total 2.48 Gbps goes list. With TelOne now live, Zimbabwe officially has 4 international fibre cables coming in through PowerTel, Econet, Africom and TelOne.

 

April

Techzim Interviews with ForgetMeNot Africa COO, Jeremy George on the eTXT system. He discloses the company is processing hundreds of thousands of SMS messages day.

23rd Century Systems subsidiary developing VAS platform. The company discloses that it is developing a platform that other content providers will be able to use as a gateway to mobile network operators for value added services.

Econet posts mega profits, grows subscribers base to 5.5 million

 

May

Telecel started the paid broadband test without POTRAZ approval? Telecel is forced by POTRAZ to reimburse customers it charged for mobile broadband usage without POTRAZ approval.

NetOne cancels Zellco contract.

Econet’s promotional broadband prices not that promotional Econet slashes prices in what it refers to as a promotion. The company still offers the most expensive internet bundles on the market. The company later adopts the promotional prices as standard.

YoAfrica webmail security flaw exposes customer emails


June

Gigatel launches new VSAT hub in Zimbabwe. With NetOne license cancelled, it’s apparent Zellco (aka Gigatel) has been exploring new business

trustco logoOn 7 June, Trustco abruptly terminates Ecolife agreement with Econet. The announcement is made by Econet and it’s not clear what caused the fall out. The two companies have different versions of the truth and later go to court. Trustco emerges the winner in October, but they don’t win.

Africom launches mobile voice It later emerges that the company has not concluded interconnection agreements with mobile operators and for a while, subscribers on the Africom network can only call each other.

TelOne launches ADSL services branded DotMore. The company suspended selling wholesale ADSL to ISPs about a year ago and intends to sell directly to customers.

Dandemutande finally emerges. Promises to start offering WiMax internet services to the consumer market.

 

July

Spiritage Introduces Brodacom. Spiritage business, which had been working on voice and data offerings, introduces their internet brand, Broadcom. The launch is a bit messy with websites being switched on and off, mixed marketing messages and claims of having 4G services.

Western Union introduces domestic money transfer

Indian telecoms firm, MTNL, negotiating for a 51% stake in TelOne. The news is broken by an Indian publication. TelOne later refutes the claims.

Airtel, MTN and four others court NetOne. CEO of NetOne has revealed that the company has been approached by six foreign investors with four having communicated within the last two weeks. Of the six, Bharti Airtel and MTN Group are front runners as they are spread across more African countries.

PowerTel to launch mobile voice services, web hosting

Startup Challenge – A chance for Zim startups to win US $25,000 in prizes. Techzim announces BarCamp 2011 and Startup Challenge.

The Trustco and Econet fight carries on through July.

 

August

Zimbabwe’s first tech BarCamp event is held

 

Emmanuel Makandiwa

Controversy as local VAS provider sues Makandiwa. A local church leader introduces “spiritual airtime” cards, a move that attracts the attention of the telecoms regulator.

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange website is hacked. It’s revealed later in the month the website was hacked twice and the hackers did so through the CMS.

Econet launches SMS campaign for Somalia aid

TTCS Zim launches TTCS Kenya in partnership with SevenSeas Technologies

FBC Bank introduces MasterCard Prepaid services

 

September

Econet prepares launch of mobile payment system. Econet announces that it is working on the mobile money system that’s later revealed at the end of the month to be EcoCash.

We’ll hit 6 million subscribers by end of September, Econet announces.

SC-2011-winnersThe Winners of the ZOL startup challenge are announced. The ultimate winner is a local startup called Mukela and runner ups are Sadomba Mahari and Softwarehouse

biNu, a java mobile phone app, announces that it has registered rapid growth in Zimbabwe

Africom finally interconnects with Econet and TelOne

ICT Development Index: Zimbabwe moves four places up. The International Telecommunication Union released the global ICT pricing and penetration data report. Zimbabwe has moved four places up from a ranking of 128 in 2008 to 124 in 2010

ZimSwitch to launch mobile banking platform this month, The long awaited ZimSwitch mobile platform is finally announced.

The Ecocash launch event. Econet launches Ecocash at an event attended by the reserve bank of Zimbabwe. The service becomes the biggest single platform for mobile banking. An issue with pricing forces Econet to revise prices downwards after launch. Despite the reductions, service remains one most expensive to use.

 

October

ICT Africa 2011 is held

Tengesa.com, a mobile classifieds platform, launches

The Econet and Trustco fallout finally looks like it has come close to ending as Trustco gets order to resume services.

ZimSwitch announces that 12 local banks will be implementing the ZimSwitch Mobile service. ZimSwitch explains that the intention is to make the service mobile network neutral. The service currently runs on the Telecel networking only.

HMetro website down, again. One of Zimbabwe’s most popular web destinations, the state owned HMetro, goes down often during the month.

ZimSwitch to provide internet payment gateway for Zimbabwe

 

November

Innov8 launches online bookshop. We conducted an interview with Milton Kamwendo and published it with the announcement.

Webdev launches a social network and brands it SHA

iZimbabwe a news portal goes live

Econet launches the Android powered Huawei Ideos smartphones and the Ideos tablet.

POSB launches ZimSwitch Mobile powered mobile banking service. POSB joins a number of financial institutions and mobile operators that have launched mobile banking including Kingdom Bank, Tetrad, CABS, CBZ and FBC.

 

December 2011

Dhiri, a new daily deals site launches.

We posted an interview with Lovemore Mukono, co-founder of Mukonitronics (full Interview)

Zimbabwe ICT Achievers Awards winners are announced by the ministry of ICT at an award ceremony

Econet launches MMS

VoIP and Internet access provider, Telco interconnects with Econet. The provider is still to interconnect with Telecel & NetOne.

2,600 ADSL subscribers in Zimbabwe. The POTRAZ director general discloses the TelOne ADSL subscriber base at the celebration of POTRAZ’s 10 years in existence.

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