Last week left a lot of mobile users asking questions about Telecel’s data services. Econet’s pricey mobile broadband and Africom’s (and PowerTel’s) lack of coverage outside Harare has increased the calls for an alternative. And many believe Telecel has the much needed international backing from its Egypt based parent company, Telecel Globe, to provide an alternative.
We went right ahead and asked Telecel when it’s going to happen. The response was basically that we all need to wait a bit longer. Back in June in this year, Telecel told us it it’d launch mobile internet at the end of September. This obviously didn’t happen. So we asked them what’s taking so long. Here’s the full text of the response:
There are three issues that have slowed down the deployment of Telecel’s 3G data services.
The first and by far the most important issue is the continued difficulty in accessing the sea cable across the border from either South Africa or Mozambique. Without the necessary bandwidth, there will not be enough capacity to provide a quality service to our subscribers.
The second reason is due to delays in building a reliable transmission backbone that will carry this data across the country. We are few months behind schedule in this regard.
The last problem has been with finding the best method to bill for the consumption of the data. We want to be fair to our subscribers so that they are paying only for what they use and so that the service is available to as many subscribers as possible and that the price is affordable. This requires the deployment of specific technologies and extensive testing.
Most of these issues have been addressed or will be addressed by the time we launch, which will most likely be early next year.