Zimbabwe mobile broadband speedtests results compared #ICTAfrica2013

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As some of you may know, we decided this year to participate in the ICT Africa event by hosting an impromptu 1 hour Broadband Shootout at the 3 day event! The shootout was simple; every operator would get a chance to speak for two minutes about what makes their service the best broadband locally, and then afterwards we would do a speedtest. We did it over two days and did tests for at least 4 mobile broadband operators; PowerTel, Telecel, Econet and NetOne.

And here are the results below, sorted according to the network with the fastest download speed.

Econet topped the four with a download speed of 6.87 Mbps. Their upload speed was however the lowest at 0.77 Mbps:




Telecel had the second best download speed at a download rate of 6.62 Mbps, and again the second best uploaded speed of 0.87 Mbps:



Third, but not by a huge margin, was NetOne with a download speed of 5.63 Mbps and the best upload at 0.94 Mbps:



PowerTel, which uses the CDMA, a technology different from the other three, scored the least in a test we did yesterday. The download speed was 0.34 Mbps and upload 0.59 Mbps.

You will notice that all three GSM mobile operators show Liquid Telecommunications as the carrier. This is because Liquid supplies their backhaul fibre connectivity. The three all offer 3G services. Econet however recently introduced LTE with some coverage in Harare CBD, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.

Please note that the tests were carried out at Harare International Conference Center (HICC) and that this was just a spontaneous. nothing scientific. There are many other factors that determine the speed of a network at any given time and place. Also note that fixed broadband operators also had a chance to speak about their service but we couldn’t test the speed for obvious reasons.


  1. anthonysomerset says:

    and econet own liquid if i remeber correctly – that means econet are helping telecel’s promo’s by proxy by selling backhaul capacity to them through liquid 🙂

  2. Kelvin Muza says:

    Very interesting, Netone had the best upload speed. But where was Africom? They chickened out?

  3. Liberty Dandira says:

    The problem with SpeedTest is that all measurements are done biased on the server you will be connecting to. If your connection connects well with that server, your connection is likely to have better upload and download speeds. If the server is acting up as well, the values maybe compromised. The fairest would be to set a server in Europe for the test. That way you will unbiased results

    1. The problem with testing to a server in Europe is that there are a lot of nodes and operators between the backhaul provider here and the server in Europe making any tests subject to factors well beyond the control of the mobile operator.
      All tests were done to a Dandemutande server here in Harare and its actually a good thing they are all backhauled by Liquid locally which makes the tests even more fair.

  4. macdchip says:

    thus not even anything near 4G speeds econet make noise about. One day maybe we will have a regulator who knows what they are doing and stop this abuse.

    1. We used their a 3G device. sorry for not clarifying in the post.

  5. Muti says:

    Always speedtesting with local severs.

  6. Obnub says:

    I appreciate the continuous effort by you guys to get improvements out of our service providers. Just a pity the article is so full of grammatical errors/ typos.

    1. thanks and sorry. fixed all we could find.

    2. Muti says:

      ThIs Is A IcT BlOg, we dont care about typoz & sheet, As long we understand the message. English is a third language or second but not first.

  7. Magneto says:

    Its a waste of time testing speeds to local servers as most Internet Traffic is headed to destinations outside Zim mostly US and EU. Actually most local ISPs do not even meter local traffic for billing. Again you did not indicate which CPEs or devices you were using to run these tests – I hope these were similar across the Operators you tested…

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