The Econet 5G router is going for half a million dollars. Yes, you read that right

Valentine Muhamba Avatar
Econet 5G Router

Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile network operator Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has announced that you can now buy a 5G router from its stores nationwide. The announcement was made on the company’s Facebook page and follows the company’s recent launch of 5G in Victoria Falls as well as installations in Harare and Bulawayo.

Econet 5G router

According to the promotional material, Econet’s 5G router can support up to 32 devices, is suitable for those who want to use it for home or office, and users can connect to it via Wi-Fi or an ethernet cable. The new 5G router from Econet is also compatible with 4G (and can downgrade to 3G) so if your area doesn’t have 5G you can still use it for the lower spectrum until the base stations rollout comes your way.

Econet’s 5G router is more expensive than a fibre installation

The speeds promised by 5G are pretty impressive. At the demonstration Econet held in Harare earlier this year it clocked speeds exceeding 1Gbps. Whether those speeds can be held over when there are more people on a single base station is another matter.

Moreover, there aren’t that many 5G base stations out there in Zimbabwe. The ones we know of are, the one at Avondale shopping centre in Harare and six in Bulawayo, plus the new installation in Victoria Falls. This complicates things a bit because 5G has a very short effective radius. This means that you’ll need to be closer to a base station for you to get the full benefits of the speeds and low latency.

So we would need more base stations for this to make sense for the 5G use case. For those who want to future-proof their MiFi situation, there are two variants of the 5G routers from Econet. The first is an outdoor router which is going for ZWL$580,193 (approx US$1,555 at the auction-rate) and there is an Indoor one that is going for ZWL$236,493 (approx US$634 at the auction-rate). When I contacted Econet customer support, there were no installation costs gazetted for the outdoor variant of the router.

Those are some seriously eye-watering prices considering that a fibre installation costs a fraction of that and cheaper still is a conventional LTE connection, which if you choose Utande, has a setup cost of US$100.

Personally, I don’t see the need for such an investment in a technology that is not widespread. It might make more sense for people and businesses who are close to the base stations but for the rest of us, it might be worth waiting for more players to join in and force prices down.

I’m really curious to hear what you think, are you game for Econet’s 5G router, or you’re like me and that’s a step too far in terms of price?

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  1. Changfa

    There’s lots of areas where people fail to connect even to 4G but here we’re Econet already offering 5G. Talk of misplaced priorities.

    1. Prime 31

      they literally have zero care about customers these days

  2. Anonymous

    that’s an exchange rate in the THOUSANDS! Who comes up with these figures and who ALLOWS this!!!! ???

  3. Tee Kay

    MNO’s should stick to their core business of selling data and leave hardware to those who know how to source it at cheaper prices.

  4. Cable Guy

    We need to give Econet a chance

  5. John

    If the use of this router is contingent on having a 5g base station near you then it doesn’t make sense. You can literally buy the latest smartphone for that price and still have change, a smartphone that will have 5g capability and can also hotspot up to 32 people with very good range. But to each his own

    1. RAIN


    2. Anonymous

      Making sense hahaha

  6. The Empress

    Econet was being polite and didn’t want to be too direct.
    But if they had said what they really wanted to say it would have gone something like this….
    Dear valued Econet subscribers.

    We are currently in the process of rolling out 5G and as such the number of 5G capable basestations is limited so in order to screen out vanoda zvinhu but can’t really afford we have set the price at 500 grand this is order to best serve those in need of high data speeds and also mbinga dzema gold coins.
    To our valued customers who survive on WhatsApp bundles you truly have no need for 5G the current network speeds are more than good enough .
    Asi you think that on 5G the reply comes before you have even sent the message?
    We are sorry to inform you that 5G is currently not capable of this feat of magic.
    Yours Sincerely Econet

    1. J


    2. Frustrated Zimbo!

      hahahahahahahaha…!!! thanks for making my day. and yes, Econet would probably say something like this if they had the “nuts” to do so!

  7. Morgoth The Dark Lord

    Has anyone ever got value from Econet for anything? Everything about that organisation is ridiculously priced coupled with extremely poor customer service.

  8. Anonymous

    The only thing that keeps me tied to econet is zero rating of some news websites and zero rating of my bank’s app and website

  9. Anonymous

    This econet mf can’t maintain 4g speeds wft are we Gon do with 5g

  10. Anonymous

    Is will be all over soon! Remember we sold our cattle for a Sim Card! They want to repeat the same! Taking advantage and we just smile!

  11. HM

    Its called the product life cycle strategies in marketing lingo. You focus on the innovators (vanoda zvinhu) with high price.. Its called slow scheming. Setting the margins very high and creaming high profits from low volume sales.
    As more people take up the product (followers) you reduce the margins you make in favour of sales volumes.
    When the market is saturated you adjust the price accordingly for the laggards (amafikizolo). The product may well be on the decline by them.

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