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Why your 5G iPhone does not have a 5G option in Zimbabwe

You may have a 5G capable iPhone or iPad and are trying to experience the glorious 5G speeds on Econet. If you cannot find the 5G option in the settings in Zimbabwe you are not alone. But don’t worry. Your device is not faulty. Apple just has not enabled the service on your phone yet.

Why 5G is not showing on Apple devices

5G is still very new in a lot of countries and its also coming in different flavours which I talked about in this video. So to ensure that the 5G being offered by a service provider works well with the OEMs smartphones, they will work with with a service provider and ensure their devices operate as designed on the MNO’s network.

This is not a one day process and in the case of Apple, if a certain service is not supported by the carrier or has not been tested and verified, it will be disabled at system level for the region where the carrier operates. And that’s how you won’t be able to see the option for the service regardless of your device being equipped with the hardware.

At the time of writing this article Apple has these enhanced services enabled on Econet and 5G is not yet on the list:

  • FaceTime over mobile
  • LTE
  • Personal Hotspot

That said, it seems Apple only recognises Econet of all the MNOs in Zimbabwe. It does not mean that other sim cards will not work in Apple devices because they do. All it means is that Econet did the leg work to ensure their network complies with Apple’s requirements and so Apple devices can fully take advantage of certain features when operating on the Econet network.

When will Econet be whitelisted?

Econet says they have been in contact with Apple and have gone through the 5G testing and submission of carrier data to Apple. 5G should be enabled on 5G capable devices when the next major iOS rollout happens which is iOS 16. Those who are currently participants of Apple’s beta program might be able to experience this a bit sooner.

iOS 16 will most likely be announced at WWDC2022 happening from the 6th to the 10th of June 2022. Hopefully this update will enable this feature for Apple users.

Are other smartphone brands affected?

According to Econet, Some Samsung 5G smartphones are also in the process of getting whitelisted so that 5G works on their network. Huawei, Tecno, Xiaomi and other 5G capable devices seem to be working on Econet’s 5G right out of the box as long as the 5G frequencies Econet is operating on are supported on these devices.

Careful of region specific smartphones

Most smartphone manufacturers release smartphones that are optimised to work in specific regions and sometimes just for specific carriers. As such they come with limited frequency bands that they support. If you decide to import or buy a brand new or second hand phone just be weary that there is a risk of that phone not supporting the bands provided by one or more MNOs in Zimbabwe.

If these features are of paramount importance you might want to purchase smartphones from official stores or order them through official sites. And if you are brave and want to buy from unofficial stores try looking for the term (Global) on the box and you’ll be alright.


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18 thoughts on “Why your 5G iPhone does not have a 5G option in Zimbabwe

    1. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ edge? πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

        1. I have a Samsung smartphone that’s 4g capable, yet, when a certain line is in it, the connection spends about 60-70% of the time jumping between edge and 3g, with a bias towards edge. I have to manually lock it at 3g but that means going several minutes a day with no data connection.

        2. lt’s network is Geo locked,but the device has some good specs,the only problem is l have to connect to the WiFi when downloding.

          1. yes, same. I have a Vivo that does the same, i usually use wifi or hotspot from my laptop πŸ˜‚. The struggle is real

  1. I think it’s a silly policy by Apple. It’s like disabling the 4WD of a truck till Toyota has verified that the terrain you want to drive on is compatible with your truck. They are just going to make their African loyalists switch to Android.

    1. Anyone who will switch so easily cannot be called a loyalist my friend. Apple has DELIBERATELY made it virtually impossible to switch so easily hence the silly policies as you rightly put it.

      1. These are phones, not politics, loyalism can easily be broken. Apple won’t dissappear you. 🀣

  2. This feels like a dramatic over reach by Apple! If they are worried about poor networks tarnishing their reputation, just make a notification that warns the OWNER THAT BOUGHT a 5G device the network sucks and give them the option to opt in! I guess I should be used to this by now, its just apple doing apple things😩

  3. Anyone who will switch so easily cannot be called a loyalist my friend. Apple has DELIBERATELY made it virtually impossible to switch so easily hence the silly policies as you rightly put it.

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