Earlier today, Africom officially launched its new branding at a function held at the Meikles Hotel in Harare. The central theme of the new Africom is connectivity, converged connectivity. We mentioned a few days ago that this was going to happen.
Africom founder and CEO, Mr. Kwanayi Kashangura announced at the event that over the next few weeks, starting Monday 13 September, Africom will launch a number of advanced telecommunication services on the market. Starting with mobile broadband on Monday, Africom will make an entry into the mobile voice market.
There are currently only three players in the mobile voice market, namely Econet (the largest of them), state owned NetOne and Telecel (the second largest by subscriber numbers). Africom is clearly boldly gunning for a piece of this pie.
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Mr. Kashangura explained that all the services will be converged and managed through a single switching system. “We have set up the most advanced network in the country. We have removed the barriers that distinguished telecommunication services. Our is just a converged network. It’s not a voice network, or a data network, or a mobile network,“ he said.
The converged services will be managed on the same billing system and subscribers will get a single bill for all the Africom services they use.
On coverage of the mobile broadband services, Africom indicated that that the greater Harare is already covered except Mabvuku, Tafara and Chitungwiza, which will be covered ‘soon’. Other cities and towns will also be covered in the coming months. These include Bulawayo, Gweru, Kwekwe, Kadoma, Marondera, Rusape and Mutare. In other words, the highway from Bulawayo to Mutare.
The Africom CEO also added that Africom has built capacity to provide the necessary customer support through a “state-of-the-art” call center built at the Social Security Centre (NSSA) in Harare.
We had the opportunity to discuss the future products with some very friendly people from Africom and we hear broadband and voice packages with names like MiChoice, MiHome and MiBudget will be launched. On most of these packages, subscribers will get a ‘Data Card’, a CDMA mobile handset, a SIM card, a phone number, an email address and fax number among other things. Doesn’t say much right now but looks like Africom is on to something here.
Africom head of sales and marketing, Ms. Rudo Mudavanhu made an Interesting promise to subscribers during the function: “You will not experience dropped calls on our network”!
The next few weeks will definitely be interesting. Impressed so far.
What is not so impressive is that, at a time when Zimbabwe is excited and looking for more information, Africom decided to take their site www.afri-com.com down. We think Africom should have been ready with the a redesigned and re-themed site to complement the for red campaign. I guess the web is not that important to them. Talk of wasted opportunities!
UPDATE (21 sept 2010): the redesigned site was finally switched on, on 20 September 2010. After some 2 weeks!