Today President Emmerson Mnangagwa officiated at the launch of Edu-Zones, an initiative by Liquid Telecom to offer connectivity to the country’s universities and tertiary institutions. The ultimate goal though is to fulfill Strive Masiyiwas’s vision of having free Wi-Fi connectivity at all tertiary institutions and secondary schools within the African countries that Liquid Telecom operates within three years.
Official communique by Liquid Telecom says:
Liquid Telecom Zimbabwe through the initiative of its Group Chairman, Strive Masiyiwa, is
proposing a country-wide free Internet access program for University and Tertiary education
students. This program is supported by the Ministry of Higher, Tertiary, Science & Technology
Development, as part of the commitment an MOU recently signed which expresses the
commitment of Liquid Telecom to work with government to improve the digital education
and access in Zimbabwe.
Where will it happen first?
Initially the programme will roll out at 10 universities where students will get high speed Wi-Fi access for free via Wi-Fi hotspots at halls of residence, common rooms, canteens, sports pavilions and student centres. The 10 universities that are part of the initial roll out are:
- University of Zimbabwe (UZ)
- National University of Science and Technology (NUST)
- Midlands State University (MSU)
- Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT)
- Great Zimbabwe University (GZU)
- Harare Institute of Technology (HIT)
- Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE)
- Lupane State University
- Marondera State University
- Manicaland State University
Cloud is the future
The bit I am most excited about is that Liquid Telecom will be offering access to the Azure cloud stack to some of the students. This excites me because students will be getting access to the current modern computing and development environment. This is a big deal. My cry has always been that students are coming out with obsolete knowledge.
To push even more on the development of the relevant digital skills part of this partnership between Liquid and the Ministry of Higher Education will see the establishment of Muzinda Coding Hubs at the tertiary institutions.
Connectivity away from campus
Liquid will also be giving registered students access to their more than 500 Wi-Fi hotspots across the country.
The long game
Lately, I have been commenting a lot about Liquid Telecom’s long game. They are making sure that their huge investment in infrastructure on the continent which has reached 50 000km of fibre optic cable will be utilised and reap them value in the future. They are doing this by equipping their customer of the future.
This is smart. The company will not leave it to chance that there will be demand for connectivity, infrastructure and cloud solutions they offer. They are actively raising the entrepreneurs and techies who will demand such resources. They are doing that by giving these future customers a taste of their services and equipping them with digital skills using the tools that Liquid themselves sell.
It’s like a cocaine salesman who first gives potential clients a taste of the powder knowing fully well that once they have tasted they are not potential customers anymore but fully converted customers who will pay any amount even if they have to sell their mother.
The Liquid Telecom MD for Zimbabwe, Wellington Makamure said this:
The initiative that is being launched today by His Excellency is only the beginning of a longterm
commitment by Liquid Telecom Zimbabwe to provide internet service and connectivity
to educational institutions
Key word: long-term