This morning Utande Internet Services (Pvt) limited, a subsidiary company of Dandemutande Investments a company in Zimbabwe’s telecommunications industry launched its broadband WIMAX service under the uMAX brand.
The Financial Express notes that uMax is currently available in Harare at a 95 percent coverage rate joins other broadband internet providers-who include Africom, Econet, and Spiritage’s Brodacom.
The new product offers 24 hour 1 Mbps connections for all users
“Coverage is not yet good in Western areas such as Mt Pleasant,” Utande Internet Services Private Limited (Utande) interim CE Mike Weeden said. He however said there was significant opportunity in the market for a new service provider, focused on delivering “true” broadband internet services.
“We have 11 base stations that were currently sharing with other network providers, but I must say it hasn’t been easy especially when we dint have base stations of our own,” he added.
Statistics provided by management indicate 200 selected individuals have been using uMax for the past six months on a trial basis.
Interim CEO, Michael Weeden, says, “We have had six months of a pilot phase, adding a few hundred friendly users. This has provided us with valuable feedback on performance and how to improve our service. We are aiming for several thousand new customers within the next 12 months and ultimately 10,000 with the current network.”
Here’s the full text of their press release:
Zimbabwe’s latest Broadband Internet offering providing unrivalled connection quality, true broadband speeds and unbeatable service for households and small businesses, has been unveiled in Harare. uMAX has been launched under the umbrella of Dandemutande Investments, the holding company for Utande Internet Services (Private) Limited, widely renowned in Zimbabwe’s telecommunications industry as the most reliable data services provider for 15 years.
uMAX was unveiled to industry leaders and shareholders at an exclusive launch at Joina City on Tuesday June 19th 2012. “We at Dandemutande are pleased to announce the launch of uMAX, our new retail internet wireless division providing the same reliable quality service for the home and office user that Utande has been offering the corporate market for the past 15 years” said Mr. Joe Mutizwa, Chairman of Dandemutande Investments (Pvt) Limited, in his opening speech at the event.
Joe Mutizwa, Chairman of Dandemutande
“This follows a six month testing phase based on significant network investments made over the past two years.” He added. Dandemutande Investments is majority owned by Masawara plc, a Jersey registered investment company, primarily focused on acquiring interests in companies and projects based in Zimbabwe and the southern African region. Dandemutande Investments has made an initial capital investment of over $17million as part of its uMAX roll-out.
uMAX promises an exceptional and very different Broadband Internet customer experience. For example, super-fast 1 Mbps connections for all customers; 24 hour customer services manned by real humans, not machines; an expertly managed network for maximum up time and superior and consistent quality; and multiple “MAX mini-stores” within some of Harare’s leading retail stores and brands, are just some of the benefits customers of uMAX will receive.
According to Dandemutande’s Interim Chief Executive Officer, Mike Weeden, communications is one of the fastest growing industries and the launching of uMAX, initially to the Harare retail market, provides an important investment in the Zimbabwean economy, which in turn supports other businesses. “There is significant opportunity in the market for a new service provider, focused on delivering true broadband Internet services and unbeatable customer experiences to home users and small businesses,” he said.
“To date these segments have not been adequately served by local Internet providers and those that do are unable to deliver to the high standards people want and expect. Our research shows that customers want a better end to end experience and we are convinced there is considerable demand for a service provider that can consistently deliver exceptionally fast speeds, unrivalled connection and reliability, and unbeatable service. That service provider is uMAX.” He added. The uMAX service has been arduously tested for over six months under the direction of Dandemutande’s chief technical officer, Colin Franco, with a team of local and international technical consultants.
“Dandemutande has installed 11 base stations throughout greater Harare, providing service across much of the city. Through pro-active network management, uMAX technical services will avoid
congestion with a robust and resilient network core. Precautionary measures have been taken for all network elements, to ensure maximum up-time and the network has significant backup with multiple redundant paths to the Internet.” Said Mr Franco.
“Dandemutande’s technical infrastructure contains state of the art equipment in the core, tried and tested radio access products with a proven pedigree not only in Africa, but the rest of the world.” uMAX’s point of difference in the market is an unbeatable customer experience and its innovative and upbeat marketing and sales strategy. uMAX offers unmatched service in all steps of the value chain – from friendly, knowledgeable retail and direct sales consultants, to super-efficient and reliable installation teams, and right through to 24 hour customer support that always goes the extra mile to make things happen for customers. The service offers unrivalled reliability, consistency and quality of connection with fast, true broadband Internet speeds, where all customers have an expertly managed 1Mbps download connection.
Uniquely, uMAX is the only Broadband Internet service provider to offer a loyalty programme – MAX Rewards – for ALL customers, the minute they sign up to uMAX. The more they spend, the more data rewards they get. Additionally, uMAX will strive to bring real product innovation to Zimbabwe. For example, giving its customers total speed control through innovative acceleration and brake buttons which are available on the customer Internet portal. uMAX is the only broadband provider to offer customers ease of use, ease of access and ease of managing their own accounts.
uMAX’s Head of Sales, Naguib Omar, explained that the company is now selling its services in Harare through a unique distribution and sales model and will be partnering with four high profile, strategic retail partners, in whose premises uMAX will have considerable visibility and presence in “MAX ministores”. These include – iClik (Borrowdale), an Apple Authorised Dealer; Digital Home Store (Avondale), part of the DSTV Group; CABS Head Office (Northridge Park), Zimbabwe’s leading Bank and Zuva Service Station (Belgravia), one of Zimbabwe’s primary forecourt retailers. “uMAX will continue to add sales partners on a regular basis. In addition, uMAX customers will be able to recharge their accounts in a number of ways: CABS Point of Sale machines located within an array of merchants, such as selected SPAR, Bon Marché stores and other leading retailers; all MAX ministores, selected CABS branches and through CABS on-line banking. We are also piloting a unique online
payment method at the uMAX portal with CABS and Zimswitch.” Said Mr Omar.
“We believe that uMAX is different to other service providers’ promises,” Mr Omar added. “uMAX is different because the uMAX brand is founded on honesty, simplicity and unbeatable customer experience. uMAX is committed to being a catalyst for change in all aspects of service provision in the Zimbabwean market. We will challenge convention and deliver differentiation in all aspects of our service. Once customers have tried uMAX we are confident they will love the difference and that will validate our brand promise of “Everything looks different from up here!”.”
uMAX offers excellent value packages and easy recharge, without being locked into long contracts. All three bundles are 1Mbps speed with 60 days validity.
uMAX is offering a special Two for One deal for new customers. For example, one monsterMAX for $240 entitles the customer to 12Gb plus an extra 12Gb. uMAX indoor access devices are sold for $200 including VAT, with the outdoor access device retailing at $475, including installation, with the WiFi router and VAT.
uMAX offers a 24 hour call centre manned by a motivated team, who have been trained to answer and deal with customer enquiries, and go the extra mile to make things happen for customers. Depending on the customer’s location in Harare, installation requires either an unobtrusive indoor or outdoor access device. Indoor access devices can be easily installed by customers and if an outdoor access device is required, the uMAX team will install a small aerial outside the home or office and connect it to a small power unit inside the premises.
An exciting advertising campaign has been launched and Harare residents will see colourful billboards and press advertising featuring uMAX’s inimitable and loveable personality, MAX the Giraffe. The team has designed a vibrant and innovative website and visitors to the site can enjoy regular social networking activities and competitions on the uMAX website. Customers will be able to enjoy the ultimate Broadband Internet experience and download videos, music, e-books, large documents and games, and enjoy Internet connectivity at exciting broadband speeds.
For further information, visit the uMAX website on www.uMAX.co.zw. Call 24 hour call centre at (04) 76 000 400 and even follow us on facebook.com/uMAXlife and twitter.com/uMAXlife.