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Econet Launches Mobile Broadband Services

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We’re just from the launch of Zimbabwe’s first nationwide broadband service by Econet at an elegant dinner at Crowne Plaza in Harare this evening. The launch was attended by cabinet ministers, ambassadors and POTRAZ officials.

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Econet revealed today that the network cost about US$100 million to build, and currently covers the country’s major cities. The data network is based on UMTS (3G), GPRS and WiMax technologies, and is linked together by a fibre optic transmission system, with satellite back-up.

Econet Wireless CEO, Mr Douglas Mboweni, said today that Econet Broadband was the most ambitious project undertaken by the mobile operator since its launch on 10 July 1998. He added that broadband would play a pivotal role in the reconstruction of Zimbabwe’s economy.

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Three broadband packages were unveiled today; an “On The Go” package for customers on the move using internet capable handsets and laptops, an “@WORK” package for business users and an “@HOME” package for the home user surfing for leisure, school and light business.

Econet first introduced mobile internet services back in September last year but suspended selling the service to new subscribers just after a month citing an overwhelming response. Then, customers were promised new subscriptions would be resumed ‘soon’. Customers have been waiting for the resumption until today.

Whether the one year wait was worth it or not will be answered in the next several days. The prices, which are on the steep end, suggest already that the service will probably not be affordable to a lot of Zimbabweans. We’ll cover the costs of the services in a separate article. The wait might be worth it in terms of quality of service but we haven’t tested that yet so we really can’t say much there.

Some photos from the launch below:

George Barbaressos
Econet Commercial Director, George Barbaressos, Unveils Econet Broadband
Tawanda Nyambirai
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Chairman, Tawanda Nyambirai
Nelson Chamisa
Zimbabwe Minister of ICT, Nelson Chamisa chats with Econet CEO, Douglas Mboweni at the launch
Part of the people who attended the launch

Quick NetOne, Telecel, Africom, Econet Airtime Recharge


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48 thoughts on “Econet Launches Mobile Broadband Services

  1. It is still very expensive, i wonder how we Zimbabweans think. We are so happy that we have internet thats right but can you check the prices and the quality of service. That $15 is what bandwith? To make it worse its only avaialable in the CBD. If buy the Africom modem you are stuck with even if their bandwith is bad. Wait for the next three weeks you all be complaining. All I am saying is these companies need to provide good quality service, value for money even if I am a cent for 1 gig.

  2. Why wait 3 weeks? Africom has been on a free promotion for a month!!! Free downloads, music, linux distributions the whole shebang we have had tried it all, and it works. Any doubts about speed and bandwidth would have been answered during that time and not when their paid services kick-in.
    If you are looking for an example of an internet service that flopped soon after its introduction, I will spell it out for you. It’s called Econet GPRS!

  3. I agree with you on Econet but where you do you the africom service in the CBD right. So what happerns to those in other areas. If the Africom testing was done Nicodemusly how can we know its performance besides only a few people where testing now is the real test.

  4. I agree with you on Econet but where you do you get the africom service? in the CBD right. So what happerns to those in other areas. If the Africom testing was done Nicodemusly how can we know its performance besides only a few people where testing and now is the real test.I think these guys should stop thier marketing guys from advertising things that are not there. Thanks

  5. I think most people complaining here do not know the situation at hand. Its no use for anyone comparing these companies coz no-one offers true broadband. This is a global issue affecting our nation. Unless and until those working on their fibre are done then we can start talking. Otherwise be contend with whats there, only that the prices are are ridiculous and service is poor as you say. My advice, if you cant take it, leave it, until you are sure and convinced it improved, other than complain. You think they care?

  6. If we do not speak out, they will continue to milk out some ignorant people for the love of internet. It‘s high time these companies put their act to get and we let them know what we expect. We cannot live with substandard service when they are capable of doing better. These econet, africom, powertel etc are just selfish, how can they have so many fiber going out of the country why can’t they work together and bring something better, they just want the whole cake and it alone that cannot happen. They just have to work together.
    This fiber thing was promised long back and we wonder if it’s going to be done!!!!!!!

  7. If you don’t speak out you will be offered FREE LIFE INSURANCE instead of fair-priced broadband you desperately need to run your small-home-office business and earn your livelihood.

  8. I noted when i plugged in my E220 modem it switched from EDGE, WCDMA to HSDPA and after 5 minutes i went offline. Imagine you are dowloading a large file it means you will loose at the end of the day in terms of usage. Econet guys pls reduce the tariffs and make your platform stable.

  9. Dear TechZim 🙂

    I’m sure you have 1 or 2 contacts at econet which you can ask if these prices are final for the next month or so. I don’t want to have to move to Africom because like it or not the Econet service has drastically improved in the last day or so because of the new upgrades…and the Africom service just might dwindle as the sudden influx of new subscribers they’re getting from people running from econets ludicrous prices will greatly increase.

    Also, what type of connection does Africom have to the ”Global VAILLAGE”? We know, econet is building that fibre and powertel has that saturated fibre cable thats struggling for capacity already.

  10. I have had nothing good to say about any of the service providers in the last month or so, but must admit that the new Econet 3G service is really good. The web page you want is there in an instant despite my home being “in a dip” and needless to say, I am a happy chappy. Well done Econet – you have done us proud.

  11. First off, the fibre connection probably will not be the saviour everyone expects. Surprisingly enough Neotel were having trouble keeping Seacom up, running and stable. I am not sure if the situation as improved.

    In terms of Econet. ARE THESE GUYS F%&^%&KIN RETARDED?.

    They proudly talk about their @Home, @Work and On the Go packages. Has Econet ever run a survey asking customers how they use the internet.

    Here is a surprising titbit I read on http://www.broadband.co.za Apparently in South Africa 65% of internet users use 3G despite its “high” cost. This is surprising when you consider that internet connectivity in SA is much greater than in Zim and ADSL is “widely” available and very cheap.

    So Econet are essentially wasting their time. In Zim PTC never introduced uncapped flat rate dial up. This leaves ADSL (difficult to get) or the other platforms of choice, namely UHF and more recently WiMax. (I run a little ecommerce venture and I would say 80% of my customers surf at work purely because our site and email gets very little traffic during evenings and weekends). This means that 3G will be the connection of choice for everyone from a corporate user (yes, companies have been using the $25 connections because they are cheaper than an ISP offering) all the way down to a mother who uses her cellphone internet connection to keep in touch with her kids in the diaspora.

    Add to that the Zim educational level. The desire for information per capita is probably higher in Zim than anywhere else in Southern Africa. This means that it may be almost “impossible” to satisfy the demand for bandwidth.

    Someone needs to wake up and get with the program. PORTRAZ with their stupidity and Econet with their greed are destroying massive amounts of potential. Useless fact – the Simpsons (Homer Simpson and Bart Simpson) is scripted in America, the animation is done in South Korea and then everything is sent back (via the internet) to the States for the voices to be added. Its no accident that the S. Korean government has as a policy the desire to see internet as fast as possible as cheap as possible, to the point where any new building is required to be connected to high speed fibre.

    All Econet needs is a 2 Tier Pricing model. Tier 1, full HSDPA and crazy speeds (at a price) for those who want it. Tier 2 is a flat rate EDGE package. The slower speed of EDGE means it has an inbuilt cap bandwidth cap.

    Today is a Saturday and I was able to download 200MB in less than an hour which is super cool. The stupid thing is that from the looks of things, lunchtime and afternoon weekdays the broadband is not that “broad”

  12. The tariffs are final. if they get revised it’l probably be because of the negative response with subscribers.

  13. Wow..EconeT is FAST!..They finally turned on 3G on at my house in Meyrick Park yesterday. Average download speed is 256kbs!!..what zol is giving people on ”fixed broadband”1. And when I get my Iphone back, I’ll be ably to check the 3.5G speed which’ll probably send me into a frenzy of downloading excitement.

    Pity Im moving to africom though as I was loving their service and their prices. However,I phoned africom and they said they’re modem runs on CDMA-EVDO REVA, a current technology thats blazing fast in the states..Upto 3.1Mbps when all is running smooth. So I hope I am as impressed by these guys.

  14. Tapiwa,

    If you don’t mind, can you go to the DOS prompt and do a tracert to any international site.

    Would really like to know the responce times and their routing.

    It will be interesting if they are going out via their own Fiber or via Powertel’s

  15. After having complimented Econet on their speed, I now feel the need to withdraw that comliment as it has actually become worse than before – oversubscribed maybe – who knows but can’t even open a local webpage – and for the price we are paying, it is just not good enough.

  16. I am getting upset with the automated response from econetbroadband that tells me my line needs to be registered first when i have already done the same but over n over each time i get this message.Come on guys show smoke,update your registry and give us the access that is long overdue.Maybe i need personal advice or is it attention?How can i go about getting activated on broadband,i dont wanna travel 100km to Victoria Falls for this as there is no ECONET shop in Hwange(another short coming)

  17. dear sir/madam
    i a stone sculptor based at number 66 air port road in harare i was happy to see you introducicing inter net on phones ,as amattre of fact it havr chang the life of many art from our workshops because before,we could go to the city center to send our mail but noe we can do it at an time any where.that have also given me the idear of making an adveret for yoy about how connecting with customera over sea have now been made easy.for more information you can contact me on this mobuil number0772913293/0733988633

  18. This disconnecting every 5 min is annoying and getting expensive to say the least.I have an attachment in my inbox and its only 10mb,i was trying to download it and everytime it has downloaded 7mb the modem disconnects and i have to start all over again because email attachments do not support resuming downloads.I have given up now because i have used at least 48mb trying to download 10mb of data.now who is going to re-embase me for all the MB’s that i paid for with my hard earned cash only to go down the drain,with out me using a single bite from 50MB.Something or same one has to give me back my money or MB’s.Now i have to go to a internet cafe to download a email attachment,so whatsthe use of having this so called 3g moderm.

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