Word has it that Africom is in the advanced stages of implementing a CDMA 2000 mobile network. The new mobile network will ride on its already established metro fibre networks in Harare and Bulawayo.
According to our source, Africom is taking advantage of the anything-goes class A operator license they hold to spread into the mobile telephony business, a territory dominated by the ever expanding Econet. Though basically an Internet access provision license, the class A license doesn’t have anything in black and white stopping a licensee from building a mobile voice network. POTRAZ, the telecoms regulatory authority has since suspended the issue of these licenses.
It is still not clear at the moment if this is going to be the 2.5G or the 3G version of CDMA2000 but one thing is certain; in addition to voice calls, subscribers will enjoy Internet connectivity. Africom is partnering Chinese networking and telecoms giant Huawei on the project. Assuming nothing too serious hinders the implementation, the first phone call should be made any time before the end of May this year.
Over the past several weeks Africom has been posting jobs for engineers, technicians, and administration staff for the new services, a sign the ball is already rolling.
Africom is one of the leading Internet access providers together with Ecoweb, Telecontract, and the state owned TelOne. It’s worth noting here that Africom is also involved in the national priority fibre optic project to connect Zimbabwe to the Seacom undersea cable through Mozambican telco TDM.