A fortnight ago Econet launched the much hyped 3G on its network, marking quite a significant milestone in Zimbabwe’s communications advancement. Strangely enough, however, and much to the nation’s disappointment, the launch did not live up to the company’s renowned reputation. Bluntly put, it was clumsily managed. It’s hard to figure out what’s going on even for my geek friends around.
For starters, the advertised website, www.econetworld.co.zw, supposedly containing more information on the new technology, had nothing but a “Website temporarily offline” message for most of last week. Quite annoying really after so much anticipation from the hype in the press.
The website is online now but still lacks clear-cut information on how to get onto the 3G highway. Article number one just reiterates the 3G generalized newspaper adverts “…Consumers will begin to utilize devices that combine cell phones, PDAs, video cameras, pagers, and other various gadgets….”
The second article explains quite well how 3G differs from other mobile technologies like GSM, GPRS, EDGE and HSDPA but again fails to relate this information to our local Econet 3G. Next to that is a list of steps in bullet point form on how to get connected. Says to activate, go to your nearest Econet service centre. Well, you could have just told me that in the newspaper advert you know! After that is some numbers and an email for any enquiries. Will call them and come back with the story (UPDATE: It’s here).
What I expected to find at the site is something along: Is 3G available in all the areas that have network coverage? Is 3G available for all subscriber platforms (buddie, liberty, business partna)? Adverts say with 3G one can watch movies, do they mean now the connection is fast enough to download movies, or we can have movies streamed to our phones?
For entirely different (and rather obvious) reasons, Zimbabwe’s state controlled Sunday Mail’s opinion piece had no kind words for Econet, calling it a waste of “time on expensive elitist technology that is of little practical value to the majority” and furtively inserting a national security dimension to this; quite humorous actually these spin artists. But I digress.
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