The Econet LTE that we wrote about and discussed in our previous podcast, after the operator had finally opened up the service to mobile phones (it used to be accessed through a modem only) has now taken full flight – from a promotional standpoint at least.
Not only has Econet been making a fair amount of noise about the faster network, sharing how-tos on activating it and important information on compatible devices, it has also extended free broadband as part of an LTE.
Subscribers are being encouraged to test the service and everyone who signs up to the LTE Test drive is receiving 300 MB of free data which is valid for 3 days.
It’s great market entry strategy, considering that most subscribers would have been stuck on 3G if they weren’t given a feel of how fast LTE can be compared to 3G speeds. And so far, it seems to be working well.
The responses from subscribers on the Econet Facebook page indicate a warm reception for the service, with a lot of applause for the broadband freebie.
In the 4G race, Econet is going up against NetOne, which has been very aggressive with its LTE network expansion. NetOne has a wider nationwide coverage in terms of LTE, with a presence in every province through 45 active base stations and another 15 set for activation in the short term. This total doesn’t account for more work being carried out in its nationwide LTE network and service upgrade.
Econet hasn’t been ignoring LTE coverage, though. The operator has extended its LTE footprint and according to information we received from sources at Econet, the LTE base stations total in Harare has increased to about 20, exceeding NetOne’s total. Econet has maintained 5 base stations in Bulawayo and it’s still got its initial placement in Vitoria Falls.
Econet has been taking a shot at at NetOne through its advertising, though, running with the tag, “No New SIM required”, which one-ups NetOne and its new LTE SIM requirements. Let’s just hope the two networks compete on broadband price and network availability as well.