News 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.
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.
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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