Powertel introduces $35 unlimited Fibre package, prepares for future of Zimbabwean internet

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Powertel Communications, the State-owned Internet Access Provider with its fingers in VoIP, broadband, VPN and prepaid electricity distribution services recently added unlimited Fibre to the Home (FTTH) packages to its broadband lineup.

These new packages are the latest iteration of Powertel’s Fibre-to-the-x strategy which had previously been limited to areas with a VPN presence and mostly utilised by Powertel’s corporate clients.

The new FTTH service will rely on an overhead fibre rollout strategy that will utilise electricity pylons owned by ZESA, the national power company which is also Powertel’s parent company.

For as little as $35 subscribers can now access an unlimited Fibre service with speeds of 3 Mbps while $55 can get a premium package that offers speeds of 10 Mbps.

Price($US)Speed
353 Mbps
455 Mbps
5510 Mbps

These packages become the cheapest on the FFTH market, beating the other uncapped offerings from competing internet providers. Powertel’s $35 package also undercuts other entry-level Fibre offerings like the $36 – 20 GB capped package from TelOne, ZOL Fibroniks $39-for-15 GB deal and the $35 – 11 GB package from Telco Velocity Broadband.

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The $35 -$55 price range for unlimited fibre is going to be hard to beat for the other internet providers in the FTTH space. As such these competitors will likely be leaning on other advantages in order to maintain a lead in the Fibre services market. These include a wider fibre presence and a lot of brand capital earned through exhaustive marketing strategies.

Powertel’s Achilles heel in all this will be its limited fibre presence. For now, its FTTH packages are only available in and around the Braeside area in Harare (where ZOL had already set up its infrastructure).

This limited coverage is hardly enough to take on the extensive investments made by ZOL and TelOne that have been the leading providers of FTTH throughout the country.

Powertel has acknowledged this coverage deficiency and according to officials from the provider, plans are in place to address this. Over the next few months, Powertel will be expanding its fibre footprint by continuing to tap into the extensive infrastructure network provided by ZESA.

An investment in the future of the internet?

By increasing its investment in Fibre services, Powertel seems to be gearing up for the changes in broadband consumption patterns and internet usage trends.

There is an increasing demand for fast and stable internet connections that are able to ensure the delivery of various forms of content without interruptions.

Data-intensive services like social media and Video on Demand (think Netflix) have now been brought to people’s doorsteps and any internet provider that can handle such loads will be best suited to provide value to consumers and consequently sell their services to them at the end of the day.

In addition to this, CDMA technology, which has been a core element of Powertel’s broadband strategy, is in decline. In a recent POTRAZ quarterly industry report, CDMA internet subscriptions registered a 2.2% decline from 84,828 to 82,959 connections.

It’s a minor drop, but when stacked up against a 53.4% increase in Fibre connections, there is a reason to assume that these new FTTH packages are just the first steps towards a type of internet that subscribers are slowly beginning to appreciate as a more suited alternative for their internet use.



24 Comments

  1. Dhikondo says:

    Thats a pretty good deal. But im sure its only limited to the harare the last I heard. Does anyone has an idea if the same deal extends to CDMA connections?

  2. Cool says:

    Lol , let’s be honest , anything tht z cheaper than telone’s offers is as gud as useless. Dnt get fooled by the name “fibre” , do you knw that yo isp can even shape yo fibre to 56kbps aka dialup speeds if they want to? @techzim I really lik yo articles bt honestly u suck when it comes to product/service reviews.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Telone is not the yardstick. I think you should try it out and see how it is.

      1. Cool says:

        Noway!! We dnt hv money to waste. 30 day Money back guarantee is their only last resort

        1. Kritikal says:

          I’m sure you work for telone hence denouncing a service you haven’t even used.

          1. Macd Chip says:

            Telone and Powertel are owned by same gvt, what benefit would he gain by denouncing Powertel.

            He is a potential customer who is aakibg for some sort of guarantee because he had his fingers burnt before by powertel.

            Have you got any suggestion to make besides them against us polarisation?

          2. tyno says:

            yo oans dnt know wat u telone, l hv telone adsl at my crib nd so far they hvnt let me down l m enjoyin a 5mb dwnload speed l stream live soccer at 720p with no buffer so try it b4 u open yo mouths…..

    2. KENNETH says:

      PEACE BRO

  3. H says:

    Not happy until they bring back the student package

    1. murahwa t says:

      Step into Powertel. There are packages suitable for everyone including students.

  4. Macd Chip says:

    Rubbish!!

    They do not have international which can handle such bandwidth demands from users.

    They are leasing the 10gig Mutare link to Utande, that leaves them with only that slow Bots link.

    Nothing new here except the word fibre. It will be slow, even slower should people buy the hoax and rush to sign in.

  5. G says:

    This is good, prices lower than any sadc or african country for that matter. With time zimbabwe can be a leader in the knowledge economy if they continue such moves and this is matched by developers creating solutions to solve everyday problems

    1. Macd Chip says:

      Its good until they connect you and you try to open google page

      1. Cool says:

        The only way for powertel to gain back our trust is 30 day money back guarantee.

  6. juma says:

    ko broadband yawo ichasvika rinhi kumarondera

  7. kells says:

    powertell is useless, I’ve tried it before, I won’t try it again

  8. Munhu Mkuru says:

    Ini zii semunhu mkuru, how can they introduce such a cheap package when they are still rolling out the fibre, i bet an installtion will take 3 months before you are connected.
    Lets not just be happy about some cheap internet.
    How are they going to return their investment?
    Potraz should look in this under the “Competion and Tariff act”
    There is no business sense?

    Lets pay for internet that works.

  9. Mashumba says:

    A roll out cost reduction is apparent here, in the idea of rolling out fibre links via existing infrastracture, i.e. ZESA powerlines. That should afford them the cheaper offering as opposed to the cost of digging up trenches to lay lines.

  10. blaz says:

    “now, its FTTH packages are only available in and around the Braeside area in Harare” so lets all move to Braeside for powertel’s sake

  11. Frasturated Broansband User says:

    I’ve had my fair share of these ISPs claiming to deliver what they can’t, Powertel in particular, i’d never seen such poor service from the ISP. I even wonder why i fell for their crap, so what could be different now? Even my current ISP, which is Zol, they can’t even deliver what they claim to offer although it’s better than the useless Powertel though, i’ll tell you that. I’ve not used their fibre yet and i’m not even sure i’m interested. One of my friends has got ADSL from TelOne and it’s same story. All this gets me to wonder if these are the accepteable standards our dear ISPs have to offer in ZImbabwe!! Umm…

  12. Anonymous says:

    A few words about hunting for the internet and experiences l have had when dealing with local players and a comparison with other places.

    l am currently using the Powertel dongle, unlimited option which is about $50. l was going to go for the Telone option but the attitude and requirements put me off. l was told that l have to pay $89 for the cost of package as well as a setup fee which would enclude a modem. ln the end l was looking at something like $150 for everything.

    However, to do that l was told l needed to produce a number of documents, proof of residence, certified ID etc. The biggest issue as l had been living elsewhere l had to produce an affidavit of my proof of residence, at that point l decided that there were just too many hoops to jump through. By the way they informed me they had a special, which was pay for two months thats like $178 and everything would be done for free. l was really tempted.

    However, when l was informed that l needed a telephone line to get the service and that though this could be easily arranged, l would have to be vetted before they could approve my connection, at that point l gave up. l guess these are all reasonable precautions but for someone who had not come expecting all these, l felt they were unnecessarily complicated for a consumer.

    l then tried Africom, they advertise a bundle which is $25 and is unlimited. Upon inquiring at a shop near Runhare house, l discovered they had no brochures and that unlimited was as far as browsing only. You cannot stream or download. ln order to get that you have to get data bundles. At this point l was confused.

    So l tried another Africom office, the one near the old Greatermans. At least there the lady was very helpful and even had brochures! Unfortunately l got the same story about unlimited being only restricted to opening stuff but for downloads and others you would have to buy bundles.

    Lastly l went to Powertel. There l was handled relatively well and even consulted the technical expert who assured me that l could indeed stream live content. At some point l became aware of the fact that they had fibre. Curiously this was handled by the commercial sales team. After a brief chat, it transpired that though l live within the area, but due to the fact they would have to connect me l would need to pay about $240 just for them to get to my doorstep. l believe the package on offer was costing about +$120, unlimited.

    l then opted for the dongle package which promises a top speed of 5mbs. This is a very theoratical figure. l do not think l have gotten anywhere near this claimed figure. My experience is thus, when watching sport e.g. the NBA which plays in the dead of the night, things generally work well. Yes there are lags here and there but with a bit of persistence l tend to have not too many issues.

    So l think in the night time things arent too bad. lt is a different story during the day. l have come to the conclusion that watching sport, in my case the recent test series between SA n England, this was nigh on impossible. The lags were very serious such as to have to constantly refresh or try other links.

    l have not had the occasion to download but given the fact that a few documents l have downloaded which were at most 20mb took an hour or longer, this has really put me off using torrent downloads.

    l am not good at math, but a rudimentary guess suggests that if a document is 20mb and you are downloading at say 1mbs, that same document should take about a minute if not much less say about 30 seconds. ln my experience that is far from what has been happening.

    My conclusion about the Powertel service is that if you are doing light browsing it works but for anything else you would be advised to look elsewhere. Another thing is if you are to use it, the time you use it is also key. It seems to work better at night, for me at least.

    Given that the fibre network is not over the air and that it is much cheaper than my present option, l would like to try it, assuming there are no hidden costs or unreasonable delays. lf l do get it, l will give a review shortly.

    Let me just quickly contrast with a service l used sometime last year.

    For about a $30, l got the following:

    A sim card
    A very basic phone
    700 minutes talk time
    2Gigs on the phone
    TV channels
    A second line to give to a friend or other so we can chat for free
    Unlimited internet at 100MBS

    As for the setup, the process was quick and straightforward, the only problem l had was when they wanted to know if as a foreigner l was allowed to access said service. l must point to the fact that this is a very traditional country and l was in a very small town in one of the lesser provinces, so you could say it comes with the territory.

    Having spent about three hours and having an interpreter, a friend remotely talking to the shop floor assistants, l finally chose a package and paid. The serviceman came in the afternoon and having paid the installation fee of about $100 which included, the modem, l was finally able to enjoy the net after a few minutes. l was very impressed.

    l must say some of the features have not been used:
    – the line, the phone is a very basic phone so no whatsapp, viber etc.
    – second line and the free minutes, l couldnt think of anyone l would need to call that much who l couldnt already reach.
    – the tv channels, given the state of that country’s media regulation and the fare they show, there was no need to use it, besides l had to buy a set top box to enjoy them.

    As for the extras, l guess it is really my fault for not taking advantage of them, so the phone company cannot be faulted.

    Unfortunately l only had access to that package for about two months. All l can say is l cannot wait for that sort of service to come to this country. l am sure it will take a long time but at least, we are moving in the right direction despite everything.

    These are just my thoughts and experiences as a non technical user.

    1. scammed says:

      Hello, l don’t know if you can help. For the past 12days here in Chinhoyi we’re not able to access Powertel internet. The worrying thing is they are not doing anything about it. Communicating with them is fruitless and they are saying our money is not refundable.Just imagine having paid $50 and being told that. Also their scaregoat is they say that their machine has been programmed that way. I’m afraid they will continue this way till like what they always say your money is finished. l don’t know how this can be addressed since they are violating customers rights and also scamming us of our hard earned cash. l think if there’s need to expose this scams before they go to far. Pliz help.

  13. Benjy Eliav says:

    Truly a pointless article. Firstly, why does a tech magazine leave out crucial information???? 10Mbps means nothing if you are contending against 1000 other users. So Nigel, what will the contention on their shared packages in Braeside be?

  14. scammed says:

    Hello editor, l don’t know if you can help. For the past 12days here in Chinhoyi we’re not able to access Powertel internet. The worrying thing is they are not doing anything about it. Communicating with them is fruitless and they are saying our money is not refundable.Just imagine having paid $50 and being told that. Also their scaregoat is they say that their machine has been programmed that way. I’m afraid they will continue this way till like what they always say your money is finished. l don’t know how this can be addressed since they are violating customers rights and also scamming us of our hard earned cash. l think if there’s need to expose this scams before they go to far. Pliz help.

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