Last week, we visited the Huawei Mobile broadband show that ran from 22nd to 29 February in Harare. The show was held for telecommunication services providers in Zimbabwe and it was meant as a neutral platform for Huawei to showcase its product, both end user consumer products and backend infrastructure products.
We had the opportunity to speak to the Huawei deputy managing director for Zimbabwe, Jack Zhao at the event. According to him the purpose of the marketing event, was showcase technologies that help resolve 3 major challenges that their customers (the mobile operators) are facing in Zimbabwe:
- A shrinking voice market. The money in voice is getting less and less for the mobile operators and fixed line operator, TelOne.
- The networks are growing big and the cost of maintaining these networks is very high
- People are increasingly buying smartphones now and smartphone activity on the networks demands high bandwidth
Huawei, Zhao said, has developed a number of solutions to help operators deal with these problems. The company has for example bandwidth utilization optimization systems to help operators make the best use of the bandwidth. Zhao also says the company has introduced unified infrastructure solutions to help operators transition cost effectively to new generation technologies.
For the problem of shrinking voice (and SMS) revenue, Zhao said his company is introducing a range of smartphones and tablets that help drive up mobile broadband usage on the networks. Huawei already has its Ideos smartphone and Tablet available on the market mainly through Econet. We featured reviews of two of the devices here last year.
For those of you wondering what this means for the availability of Huawei smartphones on the same low cost terms that the Kenyans for example get, we didn’t get anything to suggest entry level smartphones will be subsidized in this market. Still, it’s good to see that Econet has been lowering of previous generation entry level smartphones. There’s a Huawei U8100 smartphone going US $100 now for example.
We managed to take some photos at the show. Here are few below. We’ll be posting the rest to our Facebook Page.