Shocking, only 0.04% of Zimbabwe’s LTE users were from NetOne!?

Batsirai Chikadaya Avatar
Harare, Kopje Plaza, NetOne

While reading through POTRAZ’s Q2 sectoral report we had a keen interest in NetOne and Econet’s LTE developments in Zimbabwe owing to our recent speed tests over the past couple of weeks.

The first bit of interesting information was that the number of LTE eNodeBs (base stations) increased from 326 to 513 following 187 new installations during the second quarter of the year, that’s between 1 April – 30 June (91 days). Econet led with 184 new LTE base stations installed while NetOne only managed to install 3 hence the 187 total installations.

The second bit of interesting information was the market share of base stations. With regard to LTE, eNodeBs Econet enjoys a market share of 70,8% while NetOne follows behind with 29,2%. Econet now has 363 LTE eNodeBs base stations while NetOne has 150 in total. 

Lastly, the most interesting statistic on the subject of LTE in Zimbabwe comes from the percentage of  mobile internet subscriptions accessing the internet via LTE. To quote the report directly, POTRAZ claims that:

Of the total mobile internet subscriptions, 166,797 accessed internet via LTE; 166,090 from Econet and 707 from NetOne.

So between  1 April – 30 June for 91 days only 707 people connected to LTE via NetOne. This means that only 0.424% of LTE internet subscriptions came from NetOne. 150 LTE enabled based stations only had 707 subscriptions? 

It’s not entirely surprising seeing that most of our readers expressed shock and surprise that NetOne actually had LTE whilst we were conducting our speed tests. There was the whole fiasco of needing to first activate your LTE something NetOne in our opinion did not do enough to inform its subscribers to do. We took it upon ourselves to educate our readers by publishing an article on how to activate NetOne LTE.

For NetOne to get some form of return on investment on its much-publicised LTE expansion project they should probably get more subscribers on the network. It is not too late to accept that a mistake was made and re-educate subscribers on how to enjoy a service so much money was spent on, but that is just our opinion.

You can download a copy of the report here: potraz-q2-sector-performance-report-2016.


  1. John

    Due to LTE being so limited my phone does not always connect to LTE but switches between 2g & 3g most of the time when away from home & work. So how can anyone set their phone to only pick up 4g? If you set your phone to 3g only you are still able to recieve signal but if you travel far out you then have to change your phone to auto so you can recieve signal on 2g which is more wide spread! Just too technical for most people. I am with Econet. According to Vodacom it only costs around R140.000.00 to upgrade a tower from 3 to 4g.

    1. ZidyaVanu Mugomo

      Your phone, being a ‘smartphone’ will automatically pick the best signal for you. If there’s a stronger 3G signal, that’s exactly what your phone will connect to. Search for an app called Signal Guard, it lets you choose the network type YOU want to connect to.

  2. Chanda Piwa

    The crux of the matter is that the handset has to have LTE capability; and not many people have such devices. So until LTE enabled handsets are readily affordable, the LTE service will remain under-utilised.

  3. ZidyaVanu Mugomo

    Nothing shocking here, NetOne has never given its subscribers a reason to upgrade to LTE. The same 250kbps max speed you get on 3G is the same you get on their LTE, so why should any sane person use NetOne’s LTE?

  4. ngena

    I had an argument so time back about if we need LTE in Zim. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for progress but only is it makes sense. Technically both Econet and Netone are running two parallel networks, 1 for CS and 1 for PS. Is it necessary to carry such costs now? All LTE handset in Zim are basically expensive modems because they are used for DATA only and are forced to rollback to CS for any other functionally. I just don’t get it. The best scenario of LTE in any country is when every1 has a PS capable handset or at least 40 %. We as Zim are still too far.

    Just 1 man’s opinion

    1. Anonymous

      I really wouldn’t mind using LTE for data alone and I haven’t had any problem with 3G even 2G with voice!

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