As you may remember, in December last year, Telecel Zimbabwe extended its mobile broadband test to a wider group of Telecel subscribers. Not all subscribers, just a larger group. We’ve just learnt that during this period Telecel quietly opened up mobile broadband to non-Telecel subscribers as well.
We were tipped by a friend yesterday and we went to the Telecel Zim Head office to verify the facts. If you’ve been looking for some free broadband you might want to visit Telecel too.
Basically, all you need to do is buy a USB dongle from Telecel for US $65, plug it into a computer and you start browsing for free. That’s it. Telecel is referring to the internet connection as a data line; This means the line doesn’t do your regular voice calls. Unless of course you use Skype or some other such tool.
In terms of quality, from our experience using Telecel’s mobile broadband since December, it is quite usable but far from perfect. A random check we did in January indicated users are finding it ‘satisfactory’. Our take is that it probably needs some more tweaking. I’m using it right now as I write this post and it’s hiccuping roughly 10 percent of the time. I guess that’s why they’re not shouting on rooftops about this offering.
It’s not clear how long this will last, or if Telecel will start charging for the usage. We just don’t know, and Telecel has been telling us launch is early this year.