According to POTRAZ’s Q2 2016 sectoral report, there are 4,611 2G base stations active in Zimbabwe. Between 1 April – 30 June 2016, 298 2G base stations were commissioned to bring the total number to 4,611 from 4,313 the previous quarter. As it stands there are more 2G base stations in Zimbabwe (4,611 in total) than 3G and LTE base stations combined (2,745 combined total).
mobile base stations in Zimbabwe
What was also interesting from the report was that only 35% of the 2G base stations are in rural Zimbabwe. Not to say that 2G is meant for rural areas but with over 10 million people and 68% of our total population living in rural Zimbabwe we expected a slightly higher percentage since the introduction of 3G back in 2009 and LTE in 2013. Generally, the introduction of new technologies allows for a trickle down effect of older technologies to be installed previously disadvantaged areas but this seems to be going at an alarmingly slow rate.
Base Stations in Rural Zimbabwe
Another interesting realization was that if 35% of 2G is in rural areas, 65% of it is still in urban areas. From the data provided, there are more urban 2G base stations (2,968) than all the 3G base stations countrywide (2,232). So does this mean Zimbabwe is still a 2G country? Based on the data provided, yes.
Unfortunately, POTRAZ did not break down active internet subscriptions over 2G, 3G, and LTE and instead bundled them into one (6,586,650 for interest sake). That kind of data would have given more weight to our assumption but for the sake of constructive argument, we believe Zimbabwe to be a 2G country.