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Econet to introduce Wi-Fi Hotpots to ease mobile broadband congestion

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Econet Broadband BannerEconet will, in the coming weeks (or months, not easy to tell right now) be launching WiFi hotpots in a bid to ease congestion on the regular mobile broadband networks that use GPRS, Edge and 3G. We were tipped to this development by some subscribers to the network who told us they received calls from Econet inviting them to trial the WiFi hotspots.

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According to our tipsters, subscribers using smartphones will have the option to switch from their mobile broadband connections to WiFi when they are within these WiFi hotspots. We have no information yet on where these hotspots will be exactly but our guess is it will be highly populated centres like malls, high traffic supermarkets, restaurant, sports stadiums, airports and other such places.

Econet has told these trial customers that they will pay the same rate for the WiFi as they do for mobile broadband i.e. besides it being a WiFi hotspot, cost is really the same. We’re guessing the incentive to use WiFi will really be hope for better speeds there, otherwise why would someone bother. The trials are starting this week and indications are that these trial customers will bee given a list of of the WiFi hotspot locations. We’ll let you know as the information comes in.

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We’re not sure if the the connection switching will be manual or if Econet will provide an app for this – something to notify the subscriber or switch automatically when they get into in an Econet hotspot.

This is an interesting move in that it’s almost an anti-mobile broadband offering, essentially an admission by the mobile operator’s that their internet delivery technologies (2G, 3G etc…) are inferior to good old fibre/copper powered WiFi internet. License wise, Econet is pretty covered here. As expensive as it is, we’re sure their GSM license can do public hotspots too, but even if it didn’t, they have the Liquid Telecom IAP license for backup.

If you’re part of this pilot, we’d love to hear what your experience is.


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16 thoughts on “Econet to introduce Wi-Fi Hotpots to ease mobile broadband congestion

  1. Prices! I’d rather traditional Internet cafés offer these at their dollar per hour rates

    1. Well with WiFi, there is flexibility and mobility. try find your old fashioned internet cafe these days.

  2. Well done to Econet for staying ahead of the pack! This is not an Anti-Mobile move, a quick look on the internet a thing called 3G Offload is what a lot of Mobile operators are doing to improve internet access and improve Voice offering. Take a look at this http://www.wifioffloadsummitafrica.com. I hope they can make it seamless and automatic so we always get good internet.

  3. they do need to make it more inviting to use, why not half the price of 3g

    the problem with 3g is that to get similar fast speeds that are available with wifi/fibre you need lots more masts closer together with higher power ratings – something thats probably not as cost effective as deploying wifi-meshes in key areas

    1. Most smart phones or tablets use inordinate amounts of data when connected to wifi. Imagine a backup or some heavy syncing that was waiting for a wifi connection to happen! This would not be viable for most users even at 1/4 price of 3g.

    2. They will probably have a different tier pricing for it. The usage will most likely come out of your Data bundle.

  4. wifi takes more power plus its the same price with mobile broadband why will l use it then when l can just use my mobile data. Econet ahhhya worst development ever. u have discovered a worthless possibility.

  5. Please TechZim, Bring Back DISQUS.

    I understand, from your post on FaceBook, that one of the reasons why you have disabled DISQUS is because it is not mobile friendly – specifically, opera mini friendly. Given, as you claim, that most of your readership is on mobile phones, this seems a plausible argument. However, given that you cannot find a decent alternative at the moment, isn’t it more logical to continue with disqus whilst you search for an alternative? Or you could even throw a $500 or so contest for a mobile friendly commenting system. I am pretty sure many a Zimbabwean Developers would pounce on the idea 🙂

    Just saying, but I really hate this new commenting system. One of the strength of disqus is that it enables us to track comments from multiple sites elegantly.

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