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Africom and Valley Technologies to launch mobile phone networks

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Mobile Base Transceiver Station

Mobile Base Transceiver StationNews tips we’re getting are all suggesting strongly that Internet Access Providers (IAPs), Africom and Valley Technologies will be launching mobile phone networks soon. “Soon” here could ofcourse mean anything from a couple of weeks (at best) to a few months. We’re guessing, from what we know so far, the most would be 2 months.

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We’re told though the actual mobile networks are in place and what is left are regulatory issues with the Postal and Telecoms Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) and finalizing interconnection issues with the incumbents (Econet, NetOne, Telecel and TelOne).

For months now Africom employees and some of their partners have been making calls within the Africom network, and lately have been testing interconnection with the Econet network. We have it on good authority Valley Technologies has been carrying out similar tests. You will remember Valley Technologies as the Spiritage Group subsidiary we wrote about back in February.

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A Spiritage executive Techzim got in touch with yesterday confirmed the company is working on a mobile network but stressed that it’s still in the test phase and that Spiritage will only reveal more about its network when they are ready to do so.

And we hear these are not small networks we’re talking about. It is capacity that can easily compare and maybe beat certain incumbent operators like NetOne. What’s more, these networks will be going live with high speed data (mobile broadband) already enabled so in a way they do surpass some incumbents.

Effectively, this means Zimbabwe will have about 5 mobile voice networks (NetOne, Econet, Telecel, Africom and Valley Tech) and 1 fixed voice network (TelOne) in operation. And if we count VoIP networks that have already launched, Zellco’s GigaTel (confirm name) and Telco, then we have 7. This does not include other IAPs that have indicated they are working on voice offerings as well. IAPs like Aquiva Wireless.

We’re obviously excited about the healthy competition (and likely positive impact on prices) all this will bring.


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20 thoughts on “Africom and Valley Technologies to launch mobile phone networks

  1. this is crazy, Africom is failing to operate wha it has rite now, now mobile operator, God knows whats next? nuclear plant!!

  2. Isn’t Voice over TD-SCDMA/CDMA Ev-Do just VoIP being sold in a different packaging? Such just similar to VoMAX or VoLGA…….

    : Ev-Do(Evolution Data-only)

    1. @Itai Mobile Voice on CDMA networks is different from VoIP. CDMA voice is network based just as GSM. Infact CDMA voice is a rival of GSM cellular networks world over. VoIP can run on both GSM or CDMA networks as an application.

      1. Thanks TT.

        I am sure you referred Wideband CDMA which is an evolution, not a rival to GSM.

        If the voice network traffic is routed from the UTRAN interface to SGSN then GGSN to the internet that would be a packet-switched route. Which would be just a different flavour of Voice over IP, unless Afri-com and Valley have circuit-switching core network infrastructure. I don’t think so!

        What makes this news is that we have one network struggling to maintain its radio network and the other having trouble reading Mandarin…just staying in the news.

        Mobile phone network kuita sei kwacho??

        1. Itai thank you for opening up this discussion

          I am definitely referring to CDMA(e.g 1XEVDO) against GSM.

          Africom has got a circuit switched core network for its PDN. Valley is trying to build one and looks more likely to piggy-bank on other established carriers.

          At the end CDMA which Africom is using does offer Telephony services that are Network based.

        2. Itai thank you for opening up this discussion

          I am definitely referring to CDMA(e.g 1XEVDO) against GSM.

          Africom has got a circuit switched core network for its PDN. Valley is trying to build one and looks more likely to piggy-bank on other established carriers.

          At the end CDMA which Africom is using does offer Telephony services that are Network based.

          1. Wrong assumption, I guess.

            At Africom you might have a CSN but I would like to know if there are CDMA (EVDO) compatible mobile phones on the market today?

            I mean real phones one can buy, not the ones from Dubai. I have met some EVDO desk phones, quite similar to Telone’s 1x handsets. Not very appealing!

            Does Nokia, Samsung or Apple make phones compatible with EVDO networks?

            Why operate on a 3rd generation air interface anywhere?

            Your informative response is most welcome.

            Reply privately if possible.

            1. Also clarify what you mean, or rather what you don’t mean by “Telephony services that are Network based.”

            2. CDMA2000 EV-DO handsets are all over North America and some parts of Asia but in ZIM i have never seen them.

              “Why operate on a 3rd generation air interface anywhere? ”
              Yu still want to use 2G air interface tech? like TDM?

            3. Itai

              Africom is selling both fixed and mobile CDMA handsets… Including Android versions also compatible with GSM SIM Cards…

              Nokia Samsung and Apple operate in traditionally GSM territory however some versions of android makes with CDMA support have been experimented with. ZTE and Huawei are the manufacturers to look to for proper CDMA Handsets

              3G Air Interface (on CDMA) is cheaper to set-up than say upgrading a GSM/EDGE Network to UMTS. Again spectrum is a finite commodity and most existing GSM operators have since used up theirs to even think about upgrading to UMTS.

              What do I mean by “Network Based Mobile Voice” is that CDMA Voice depends in a RAN (Radio Access Network) which has to be built. VoIP on the other hand is a service and you dont need to start a network to offer that.

            4. Itai

              Nokia and Samsung have phones that work with these networks.
              GSM
              UMTS_W-CDMA
              CDMAone
              CDMA2000Ev-Do
              UMTS_TD-SCDMA

              Saka issue yema handsets haisi nyaya.

  3. I wont hold my breath coz i’m an Africom internet subcriber and their service is quite poor. I cant imagine them offering a reasonable telephony service.

  4. the best thing about it, even though their services will be poor, is they will be competition thus prices will lower thus even the poor guy from a village in musambakaruma will enjoy the benefits of a mobile phone.

  5. too many cooks for sure…TT and itai can argue abt the least techn and their advancement..but Africom is in no position to develop or operate a telephony service, considering the state of affairs within and without the org….

    1. I appreciate your concerns Iwirelesstechnologies but consider the fact that all these new services will require Services Providers to establish entirely new networks largely seperate from any existing infrastructure.. This should be a sign of hope… do not also forget where Zimbabwe is coming from in terms of ICTs development my friends…

  6. CDMA lost the race against GSM, why is this inferior CDMA technology dumped in our country?

    1. Hey dont confuse CDMA the technology and CDMA the BRAND_NAME of a standard.

      Your country is using UMTS wich is based on the CDMA channel access called Wideband CDMA(WCDMA)

      For yo own info GSM uses TDMA wich is actually inferior to CDMA thats why the upgrade to UMTS which uses CDMA technologies

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