PowerTel, the state owened Internet Access Provider (IAP), last week launched mobile broadband services in Zimbabwe’s 4th largest city, Mutare, and two major towns, Rusape and Marondera. PowerTel has been on a network expansion drive since last year in a bid to compete favourably against mobile network opreators and other new IAPs that have launched mobile broadband services in the past few years.
According to the information we received from PowerTel sales and marketing manager, Willard Nyagwande, significant progress has been made over the past several months to ensure the company extends services beyond just the two major cities of Harare and Bulawayo. The development means the company has met its target (well, missed by a couple of days, but hey) to have the Eastern Highlands and the Mutare highway towns covered by June this year.
It is still unclear though just what quality of mobile broadband internet the company is providing. Nyagwande himself, speaking of the new service in Mutare referred to the experience as “the speeds are amazing”. If you’re reading this from Mutare and have already tried the service, please do contribute your experience in the comments below.
Nyagwande also told us that the company has installed more base stations in Harare and Bulawayo to resolve capacity issues. More base stations are also being installed in Chitungwiza and apparentyly the whole city will be covered by as early as the end of this week. Other areas PowerTel is working to launch services in the coming months include Victoria Falls, Kariba, Gwanda, beitbridge, Masvingo and Bindura.
The PowerTel broadband service is priced at $50 a month, eat all you can. It remains one of the cheapest mobile internet deals in Zimbabwe at the moment. The PowerTel service uses the CDMA technology to provide 3G mobile broadband. The company was the first to launch mobile broadband internet in Zimbabwe, back in 2007. It however faced stiff competition and was overtaken by mobile network operators Econet, Telecel and NetOne which all now offer mobile broadband in addition to regular voice telecoms services. PowerTel itself intends to offer voice services in future.
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