TelOne Blaze LTE is a mobile telephone service being offered by TelOne. Think of it as a competitor to ZOL LTE
It comes with a SIM card that you can use in an LTE enabled device. It can be a smartphone, tablet, portable WiFi device or an LTE modem like the ones NetOne was offering with OneFi.
How Do I Get One?
This is where things get a bit interesting. Here is what you need to have.
- Proof of residence
- Copy of ID
- RTGS 10 for the SIM card only
But there are conditions. When I made my way to TelOne offices at Harare Main Post office, I was told that they recommend I buy the SIM card with their MiFi device. If I want the SIM alone I would be buying at my own risk. This is due to compatibility issues that I will highlight later in this article.
While I was in the queue they ran out of SIM cards and they said they’ll have them in a week. So I ran to the TelOne main exchange at 2nd and Samora. The fella there told be I can only buy it if I live in one of the zones that the service is available in. I’ll also highlight these later in the article.
After some convincing that I need it at work where the service is available I was told I cannot by the SIM alone and that I have to buy it with a MiFi device. Again compatibility issues.
I then went to TelOne offices at Showgrounds and only then was I able to get the SIM card. So depending on where you go if you want the SIM only you might go through a hard time. Same goes if the area you are in is not covered by the service. It makes sense that they want to eliminate the possibility of avoidable complaints but given the full info before hand I would love the option to choose my fate thank you very much.
TelOne says you can buy the SIM and the MiFi routers at the TelOne offices near you.
How Much For The Modems?
The modems are going for a promotional price of RTGS 333 for the MiFi device and RTGS472 for the LTE Access point which is a whopping 3 times cheaper at the prevailing rates than buying the equipment anywhere else. 3 times. The main difference between the 2 modems is this.
It comes with a built in battery that lasts a quoted 6 hours. It is pocket friendly so you can move around with it in your pocket and it acts as a hotspot for up to 10 devices. Something you can use when moving about if you are in Harare.
It is bigger with some antenna and requires power from a socket. Yes this one is not mobile but it can accommodate up to 32 devices! Pretty cool for a home or office setup.
Both these devices support LTE (4G), UMTS (3G) and GSM (2G) so they can support other service providers too except for those offering CDMA. You just need to input their respective settings.
Which Areas Are Covered?
The service is currently available in select areas in Harare. These areas are ones with poor ADSL service.
These areas include a 10km radius of Avondale, Borrowdale, Ruwa, Chitungwiza, Glenview, Southerton, Kuwadzana, Harare CBD. Still pretty limited but the goal is keep people happy in areas where available fixed internet solutions were a hassle especially ADSL which was experiencing insane downtime thanks to aging equipment and cable theft.
Your line will only work in the location you entered when you applied for the service. You cannot roam about the whole of Harare and get service outside of your home location even if the area you are roaming to is covered by LTE Blaze.
So for example. You sign up for the service at Avondale. You can go to Marlborough or Westgate or Marlbreign and still be connected no problem. These areas are serviced by the same exchange.
But if you decide to visit a buddy in Ruwa, about 30KM away from Avondale where LTE Blaze IS present your line won’t work. It is paired with the exchange and network tower servicing your home area.
What Devices Are Compatible With It?
TelOne is using Frequency Band 20 FDD-LTE (800) for the geeky audience like me. This means not any device with 4G LTE will be supported. Only those that have this frequency on their list of supported frequencies will work.
These devices can be LTE modems like the ones TelOne is selling, LTE capable smartphones, laptops and tablets. So if you are looking to use a custom device with this SIM that is not one of the ones offered by TelOne you will need to make sure you find out if your SPECIFIC device supports TelOne’s LTE frequency band. For smartphones and tablets you can use this link or reach out to me on my twitter handle @edwinchabuka3.
What Services Are On Offer And For How Much?
Services on offer are Voice and Data only. Yes there is no sign of SMS here. The prices for the packages are promotional at the time of publishing this article and with the Zimbabwean economy these will change very soon.
|Package||Data Allowance (GB)||Max Download Speed|
|Voice Minutes (Offnet)||Retail Price (RTGS)|
Where Do I Buy The Bundles?
At the moment there are only 2 options. Visit your nearest TelOne office and buy them over the counter or you can purchase them on Paynow by clicking here. Packages are still yet to make their way to TelOne’s self service portal and the TelOne App.
Does It Support VoLTE?
It does not support VoLTE. The TelOne Sim cards are pure data lines so even your phone’s default dialer will not work for calls. To make calls with the line in your smartphone or tablet TelOne recommends you to download the ZoiPer app.
Out Of Bundle Browsing?
The Blaze bundles come as a package with voice and data. As such you don’t have airtime credit neither can you buy airtime credit that can disappear through out of bundle browsing.
Does The Data Roll Over To The Next Month?
Nope. You have to use your data within 30 days. If you fail to do so the remaining balance will be wiped at the end of the validity period.
Do The LTE Packages Come With Data Dedicated For DEOD?
Not at the moment but it is something that will be coming soon. No specific date yet just soon.
Can I Use The Sim In Other Modems?
Yes and no. TelOne is using LTE and the frequency band is 20. If the router you have supports this then it should work with the TelOne Sim. All you will need to make sure is the modem you have is not locked to the original ISP for example Vodacom, MTN, Econet etc.
If the router has an ISPs branding on it then most likely it is locked to that ISP and so the TelOne Sim will not work in it. Modems that do not support LTE or the specific frequency band that TelOne is using will also not work. So if you have a Powertel or Africom modem don’t bother with it. Just get a modem from TelOne.
What Are The Settings For Data?
That’s all you need to start browsing.
A comparison with ZOL is inevitable but that will come in a separate article. At the time of writing this article my line was not yet activated so I cannot give you the experience but for now what is on paper suggests a pretty good deal.
The data packages and the voice minutes are fair. Speeds look very promising on paper too but all that’s left is for me to take it for a spin.
Also as I highlighted before, I wish they let me choose if I want a Sim only or both the Sim and the modem rather than straight up blocking me out. Even have someone just look up a customer’s phone or tablet to check for compatibility.
If there is anything I missed that you wanted to know throw it in the comments and I’ll include it in my review.
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