Author Archives: L.S.M Kabweza

TelOne introduces ADSL prepaid scratch cards

December 17th, 2014

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TelOne, Zimbabwe’s sole fixed line operator, has just announced the introduction of physical prepaid recharge cards for their ADSL broadband service. The recharge cards come in $25, $45, $85 and $160 denominations which have data caps of 10GB, 25GB, 50GB and unlimited data respectively. We expected the different cards to have uniform speeds but a contact at the company tells us this […]

Webdev switches on Paynow on classifieds.co.zw. But just partly for now

December 17th, 2014

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If you’re a Classifieds subscriber then you probably noticed in the past couple of days an announcement by Webdev (the company that owns the property) that they have introduced Priority Advertising. What this is essentially is that now advertisers can pay instantly via Paynow to have their adverts prioritised instantly. This is the big change. In the past the only […]

POTRAZ to develop Zimbabwe’s National Broadband Plan in 2015

December 16th, 2014

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Zimbabwe’s telecoms regulator, POTRAZ, has said that in 2015 it expects to develop a National Broadband Plan with the help of operators and other broadband ecosystem ‘stakeholders’. Responding to our questions, the acting director general, Baxton Sirewu, said today that the national broadband emphasises “the vital role of broadband in underpinning national competitiveness”, and that […]

Infrastructure Sharing: Operators selling to IHS, Helios, Eaton, American Tower Company

December 16th, 2014

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When I decided to prefix the title of this article with “Infrastructure sharing:”, I realised it would make some readers protest that this is technically wrong as it’s not strictly a form of infrastructure sharing. So, Infrastructure as a Service? As correct as it feels it’s also an abuse of something else. But then again, active telecoms infrastructure is now increasingly getting […]

Event blog: Telecoms infrastructure sharing submissions to POTRAZ

December 15th, 2014

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This article was a live blog of a POTRAZ event held on 15 December 2014. The event was held to get input from operators and other stakeholders in the telecoms ecosystem. As you maybe aware, today, POTRAZ is holding an event to discuss infrastructure sharing. In attendance here are operators, NGOs, a few politicians (one […]

FBC finally fixes Prepaid MasterCard. TelOne & Post Office to take deposits

December 13th, 2014

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Today, a debit card that you can use online and when you travel outside Zimbabwe is reasonably within anyone’s reach. It wasn’t always so. Back some 4 years ago, bank cards with with MasterCard or visa logo were for the elite. Actually, just banking itself was for the working minority. When FBC launched a prepaid MasterCard in […]

The WhatsApp news feed is more relevant & engaging than the Facebook one

December 10th, 2014

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Recently, I realised I don’t use Facebook that much anymore. I use Messenger everyday yes, but the main Facebook, the newsfeed, I just find too noisy and full of content that’s not helpful to me. Of course this noise is a result I caused myself by careless adding and accepting friends that are not friends and ‘liking’ pages with […]

EcoLife relaunches as EcoSure. The new model

December 10th, 2014

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About a month ago, we got information and published that Econet wad preparing to re-launch what used to be (a nightmare) called EcoLife. Today, that product is being officially launched in Harare, but under a different name – EcoSure. This is one product that has taken Econet a long time to deliver both because of the […]

Liquid Telecom now laying fibre in Harare’s high density suburbs

December 5th, 2014

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A few weeks ago, we noticed that Liquid Telecom contractors are now doing two significant things to smile about. First, they are now laying fibre in Zimbabwe high density suburbs. The first one, from what we’ve seen, is Warren Park, a suburb about 8km from the Harare city center. It’s highly populated so there’s more possible […]

Econet kills the Business Partna brand, replaces it with expensive “Premium”

December 5th, 2014

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So, Business Partna is out. In its place comes Econet’s new “contract” (postpaid) service called “Premium”. The Business Partna brand, according to Stan Henning at the launch of Premium yesterday, sounded too much like at an enterprise package, so they needed to bring out the sense it was for high value individual clients too. Premium is a lot […]

Google Inbox doesn’t make email less of a monster

December 4th, 2014

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Today I was reminded of Inbox by this Reddit AMA. Inbox is an app I should find time to learn and start using; something I’ve meant to do for about a month now. It’s Google’s latest cure for one of the internet’s biggest pain – email. I don’t think I will be using Inbox any time soon. I […]

#AfricaCom 2014: photos and summary (day 1 and 2)

November 12th, 2014

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I underestimated what it would take to sit and post updates here while also trying to do everything else here at AfricaCom 2014, but here goes my first update. It’s been one enriching experience having a lot of Africa’s tech industry in one place to go through. A few on my mind right now are the VAS companies & platforms, VOD […]

Zimpad: Zimbabwean launches iPad competitor. But not the type you think

October 22nd, 2014

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This guy totally rethinks the concept of a tablet. And in doing so, perfects the idea. If there was ever a technology Zimbabwe could export, it is the Zimpad. To quote the creators of this device: The Zimpad was created by Anton Bhana, CEO of Creative Centre Zimbabwe. The Zimpad will leave you breathless with its state of […]

Econet announces acquisition of Telecel Globe operations in Burundi and CAR

October 20th, 2014

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Econet just sent out a press release on the acquisition of Telecel Central African Republic and Leo Burundi. Essentially they confirm the acquisition as announced by Vimpelcom earlier today. In the release, Econet avoids the name “Telecel” completely, referring to the operations as just “assets” of Vimpelcom in Burundi and C.A.R. There’s also no mention […]

Breaking News: Econet buys Telecel

October 20th, 2014

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VimpelCom, the parent company of Telecel Globe, has just announced via a press release that it has sold all its shareholding in Telecel Globe to Econet Wireless Global for US $65 million. Effectively, the release says, Econet Wireless now owns U-Com (or Leo, what Telecel is called in Burundi) and Telecel Central African Republic.  So yes, the deal does not include Telecel Zimbabwe. The […]

POTRAZ will not force MNOs to reduce data tariffs. To let market forces regulate

October 19th, 2014

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With internet out-of-bundle prices ranging from US 7 cents (NetOne) to 15 cents (Econet) per megabyte, Zimbabwe’s data tariffs are considered relatively – to the average incomes that is – high. This however, a directive to MNOs issued by POTRAZ last week suggested, is not high enough to warrant POTRAZ’s intervention. POTRAZ will, for now, leave data charges to […]

Econet, Telecel, NetOne ordered by POTRAZ to slash mobile voice tariffs

October 18th, 2014

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Zimbabwean mobile operators, Econet, Telecel and NetOne have been ordered by the telecoms regulator, POTRAZ, to slash mobile voice tariffs from the current US 23 cents per minute to 15 cents. According to a report in The Source, the directive was issued on 16 October this week and MNOs have been told to effect this in December. […]

Of connected cars, SMS, and revolutionary products by Econet

October 16th, 2014

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Today, I opened an email from Econet titled “Econet Wireless has launched yet another revolutionary product, the Econet Connected Car.” I had just heard from people that attended the launch that it had been one of the best product launches they have ever attended. That the company was on point about what it was fixing. I […]

In Zimbabwe, you can buy a “WhatsApp Phone”

October 10th, 2014

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Came upon this recently in Harare. These guys sell SIM cards, phone accessories, and phones. WhatsApp has become the single most important thing on the phone it doesn’t matter anymore to say what phone brand it is. Or whether it’s an Android phone or not. It’s just a “WhatsApp Phone”.

Some fascinating facts about internet services stats in Zimbabwe

October 8th, 2014

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Yesterday, we posted the the latest Zimbabwe internet subscriptions statistics that POTRAZ, the telecoms regulator in Zimbabwe, released. There are some interesting facts apparent in the subscription trends locally. Here are the ones we picked. Note that these are stats for the quarter ending June 2014. 1.   Dial-up is not dead If you thought dial-up internet was dead, you […]

Here’s a list of Africa’s Video on Demand & pay TV providers

October 7th, 2014

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Recently, we wanted to quickly refer to pay TV and Video on Demand (VOD) providers in Africa for an article we were working on, and found that we couldn’t find the information we needed in one place. So we just decided to start putting the information we’re coming across here in this article. The list is […]

Zimbabwe’s internet penetration almost 50%. More than 99% of that is mobile

October 7th, 2014

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According to data sent to us by Zimbabwe’s telecoms regulator, POTRAZ, Zimbabwe’s internet penetration is now 47%. The total number of internet subscriptions in the country as at the end of June 2014 was 6.1 million, up from 5.6 million in March this year. The most remarkable but still obvious thing from these stats, as usual, is the number […]

Here’s what the new airtime tax means if you’re a Telecel subscriber

October 7th, 2014

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Remember the new airtime tax that the Zimbabwean government announced last month. Operators, starting with Telecel today, are saying how they will factor it into their pricing, and predictably, that tax is being passed on to the subscribers. A statement the operator posted today reads: Please not that due to the recent 5% levy on airtime Telecel will […]

African pay TV & fibre operator, Wananchi, raises $130m for regional expansion

October 6th, 2014

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Today, a group that seems to be Sub-saharan Africa’s largest triple play (internet, TV, and voice) service provider, Wananchi, announced that it has raised $130 million to expand its operations in countries in the region that include Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and its home, Kenya. This probably means that in countries like Zambia where Wananchi’s brands had limited market visibility, we will […]

Econet’s EcoSchool to launch tomorrow. What you should expect?

September 30th, 2014

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We just received an email from Econet inviting us to the launch of EcoSchool. But EcoSchool was launched 8 months ago, we can hear you say. That actually was a pilot launch. Just a really big one. The pilot was supposed to last 4 months but clearly ended up eating up double the time. According to the email […]