It happens all the time; a comfortable status quo gets disrupted by new convenient ways to go about doing everyday things. For people benefiting from the status quo, this usually means having to somehow find a way to play the new game. But dealing with change when it threatens your livelihood is not always an easy task.
A little more than 3 weeks ago, we reported that Econet was working to launch eTXT, an application that allows you to communicate seamlessly with Email, Chat, and social networks through basic SMS. The service was live when we posted the article but you could only access it if you knew it existed.
There’s a growing reappearance of value added services (VAS) on the local mobile networks. Entrepreneurs are seeing this and you can see the increasing number of adverts in the local press like the current itllusion mobiplay one which reads:
Over the past few months, information in the ICT sector has been suggesting Zimbabwean mobile operators are working to get RIM’s BlackBerry services on the local networks. Reports like this one on Telecel we did in December last year.
It’s not clear how much progress Telecel has made seeing the engineer said to be working on the Blackberry project ran into some nasty problems with Zim’s immigration authorities in January.
Last month, we attended the Econet Energy launch in Harare. At the event Econet gave out some solar powered ZTE-G S316 mobile phones to everyone attending. For us it was a convenient opportunity to review the solar powered mobile phones and provide our general opinion on them.
When we wrote an article about G-Mobile launching a range ‘local computers’ last year, we mentioned the controversial issue of local companies (Nhava & G-Mobile) possibly buying unbranded computers, getting them branded with their company name and selling them locally as locally made computers. We asked the readers for their opinions on the matter and reactions ranged from “low price is all that matters” to “Guys adding a sticker to a clone made in china is not true innovation.”
Barely seconds after we posted the accusation by Telecel that NetOne won’t share infrastructure, a email from Telecel appeared in our inbox with a press release titled “Telecel MD gives evidence to parliamentary committee” attached.
Telecel has been mainly silent on the issued leveled against them in the past few months but the appearance before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology has obviously forced them to come out and speak.
Two weeks ago, Techzim got the opportunity to test the PowerTel mobile broadband service. We’ve been using the connection as a primary for one of our laptops at the office, taking it through the paces and below is what we think about it.
A friend pointed us to something strange the other day: Econet is hosting Econet Mail outside Zimbabwe. The webmail system is hosted at Rackspace in the United States.
When we visited the Research and Intellectual Expo at the University of Zimbabwe last week, we saw some very interesting displays. One such display was at the UZ Soil Science and Agriculture Engineering department where a senior lecturer, Dr Emmanuel Manzungu, is developing a computer-based game that helps farmers and their advisors to make strategic decisions about responding to drought and climate change.
We attended the Research & Intellectual Expo organised by Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education. There was much to see and learn. Some of it information technology related and the other technology applications in Agriculture, food sciences and such.
Last week, one of Zimbabwe’s largest employment agencies, CV People, posted the results of a salary survey on its website. The reports can be downloaded are here. Reading the ICT Jobs report, there’s really not much surprise in terms of remuneration for techies and techie managers. If you’re in Zimbabwe, the figures are just what you see and hear around everyday. Average salaries of about US $700 for shop floor technical jobs and average around US $1,300 for managers.
It’s a fact; classifieds.co.zw is Zimbabwe’s most successful online classifieds. If not in monetary terms then at least successful in popularity. For a lot of people, it’s the only Zim classifieds site they know. Merchants use the site as the internet face of their business. Most businesses don’t even have their own websites; classifieds is about all there is for them in terms of internet presence.
We attended the launch of Econet Energy, a renewable energy initiative by Econet yesterday. Through the initiative Econet is making a move into solar energy in a bid to guarantee always-available power supply to its telecommunications infrastructure and subscribers.
We’ve been trying to get information about the company called Spiritage for some weeks now. What caught our attention (and that of many of you asking us about Spiritage) were the Spiritage ICT job vacancies in the press. The company is clearly on a massive recruitment drive. Fortunately, a few days ago, some information started trickling in.
Dr. Dennis Magaya, the founder and managing director of telecommunications and IT service company, RubieM Technologies, has revealed to a Zimbabwean weekly newspaper that his company has plans to invest US $30 million into the establishment of a telecommunications SIM & mobile broadband modem manufacturing plant.
“Many people believe Google creates or writes the information that you see on the Internet. We don’t; we just find and index it. Its actually created by people like you” – This is statement from a post made on the Google Africa blog by Bridgette Sexton, Googles’s Program Manager, Developer & Tech Outreach, Africa.
We were at Aquiva Wireless in Harare the other day, talking to the founding team about developments at the Internet Access Provider. There are some interesting developments alright; it’s Mobile WiMax offerings, fibre, VSAT and some VoIP services to launch in a few months.
About 4 weeks ago, we moved Techzim from our local web host to South Africa. The moving process wasn’t painless. It lasted some 4 days and we faced a lot of non-technical hitches that come with moving a .co.zw domain from Zimbabwe.
On the evening of 17 December 2010, hackers defaced the Econet Broadband website (www.econetbroadband.co.zw) with some nasty message about Econet not caring about its customers. Econet took the website down some several hours later, along with the main Econet website www.econet.co.zw.
Have you ever wanted to buy a new gadget and had to resort to travelling to South Africa for it, because locally it’s either just unavailable or has an obscene price tag?
We list below, a few bandwidth saving tips. We know some readers have even more tips. If you’re such a reader, please add in your tips in the comments. We’re going to assume you use a Windows machine here because that’s what most people use, and also because if you’re on a Linux box, chances are you‘re a savvy enough and don’t need us lecturing you on this.
Normally we like to keep clear of non-technology issues. It allows to focus and write about the things we know best. People at Telecel (or just people with interests in Telecel) however keep spending generous amounts of time generating news on the other side of the line. And it clearly affects the technology side of things at Telecel.
So, finally after a back and forth with firstname.lastname@example.org I finally logged into the new Econet mail service today. For those of you who haven’t received logins yet, (or who don’t use Econet lines) we’ve included some screenshots below.
Many of you saw the Masawara press release on Tuesday, and like us, most of you went into looking for who Telerix is. This is because Telerix is not on the list of official POTRAZ licensed Internet Access Providers. We thought it’d be a typical walk in the park verifying this information with the concerned parties. We were wrong.
State owned backhaul Internet Access Provider, PowerTel has launched 3G CDMA mobile broadband in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo. The official launch took place at the close of 2010 and the mobile internet service is now fully operational.
Finally, we’re back online. Problems with the site started today last week and it’s been hectic all week moving to a new web host in South Africa. We faced a few hitches during the move. But it’s all done now.
2010 brought so much positive change to Zimbabwe’s ICT landscape. An exciting year indeed. But it’s behind us now and 2011 has just started. It remains to be seen if growth in the sector this year will happen at the same 2010 leaps-and-bounds rate. Still the new year looks promising from a couple of fronts. Especially the connectivity one.
Like most tech blogs, at the end of the year, we write about the highlights of the year, the ICT events that attracted a lot of interest during the year. And this year is full of them:
Some weeks ago, a fellow blogger sent us a blog post suggestion in the form of a list of questions about Zimbabwe’s mobile and internet connectivity.Here is the list of questions and answers. Your Zim connectivity FAQ. We added a few of our own. While this is targeted at Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, it includes some info that local Zimbabweans might find useful.