Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

Botswana telecoms regulator issues price reductions directive

The Southern Times posted today that Botswana’s telecoms regulator, Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA), has issued a directive to telecommunications operators in the country to effect price reductions on telecoms services. Services to be affected by the directive include wholesale ADSL (broadband Internet delivered through a standard fixed line), mobile termination and fixed termination among others.

The Computer Society of Zimbabwe holds its AGM

This week, the Computer Society of Zimbabwe (CSZ) held its Annual General Meeting in Harare. At the meeting the CSZ president presented a report of the societies activities for the past 18 months. The society’s treasurer also presented his financial report.

Telecel quietly opens up test mobile broadband to the public for free

As you may remember, in December last year, Telecel Zimbabwe extended its mobile broadband test to a wider group of Telecel subscribers. Not all subscribers, just a larger group. We’ve just learnt that during this period Telecel quietly opened up mobile broadband to non-Telecel subscribers as well.

Econet to launch Econet Energy

We just received an invitation from Econet to attend the launch of a new venture called Econet Energy. The launch is today in Harare. The Econet Wireless Zimbabwe CEO, Douglas Mboweni, will make a presentation at the launch. Here’s an excerpt of the invite:

Econet restores hacked website, secures it with test software

Econet has switched on its Econet Broadband website www.econetbroadband, after more than a month of downtime following a hacking incident in December last year. The site is noticeably still using the popular open source content management system Joomla.

Zim’s Internet slows down as PowerTel & Econet fibre cables experience outage

PowerTel and Econet, Zimbabwe’s main suppliers of international internet bandwidth both experienced some downtime on their fibre cables yesterday.

Econet launches contract mobile phone plans

Today, Econet launched a new contract (post-paid) package for mobile subscribers where, if a customer has a minimum salary of US $250, they can get a free mobile phone on contract. We contacted Econet for details of new mobile plan and got some interesting facts you’ll want consider if you’re thinking of getting yourself a contract ‘free’ mobile phone.

POTRAZ to commence telecommunications project in under-served rural Zimbabwe

At the end of last week, Zimbabwe’s telecommunications regulatory authority, POTRAZ, issued an invitation to tender in local the press for the design and installation of Passive Telecommunication (mainly towers) infrastructure in some rural areas of the country.

World Bank’s Apps for Development Challenge voting begins

In October 2010 the World Bank launched a competition for software developers to create tools and applications using the World Banks open data. Developers were challenge to create tools and applications that either raises the awareness of at least one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

NetOne’s free airtime promotion extended to lower denominations

In December 2010 NetOne introduced a promotion where prepaid subscribers buying a US $15 airtime recharge would get 107 free minutes. This was all grand and fine except that it’s really just a few prepaid subscribers who can afford buying a $15 recharge at once.

POTRAZ issues mobile phone line registration reminder

With just a month left to the 28th of February approaches, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has issued another reminder (a warning really) to mobile subscribers to register their mobile phone lines or risk disconnection when the deadline expires.

The Apple iPad officially launched in South Africa

2010’s game changing tablet, Apple’s iPad, officially launched in South Africa today. As expected, this didn’t generate the usual excitement Apple products attract at launch. It’s really for the simple reason that Apple launched the same gadget in the US almost 10 months ago and is readying the launch of the second iPad generation.

New internet based money transfer service for Zimbabweans abroad

While we’re not experts on global remittance and have no idea how HomeLink is doing, we found this piece of news interesting and the service potentially superbly convenient for those of you in the Diaspora.

Press Release: NetOne’s OneWallet successfully launched to stakeholders

NetOne’s newest and pioneering product, OneWallet mobile money transfer solution was successfully launched to stakeholders in the city of Harare recently. OneWallet is a cocktail of services that include, sending cash, receiving cash, topping up own account, topping up another’s, account and paying bills via the mobile phone.

Econet mail goes live

On December 17 last year, Econet announced it was preparing to launch an email system for broadband subscribers. Exactly a month later, Econet Mail has gone live. Econet has announced the system is ready and broadband subscribers will be getting their login credentials via SMS.

Zimbo Jam hits two million page views per month

Just a little over 5 months ago, Zimbabwe’s leading lifestyle, arts and culture blog, Zimbo Jam, celebrated reaching a million page views in a single month. The site’s readership has kept growing since.

Powertel Outage slows down internet in Zimbabwe, Techzim affected

Since yesterday morning, we noticed traffic on the Techzim local site wasn’t replicating to the International mirror. Experience has taught us that when this happens it means our webhost, Webdev, doesn’t have International internet.

ZOL and Yo Africa announce strategic alliance

Today, ZOL and Yo Africa, two of Zimbabwe’s biggest ISPs have announced that they have entered a “strategic alliance” in which the two ISPs will combine some operating resources to lower the costs of service delivery.

Telecel to offer Blackberry services

Over the past several days, we’ve been getting some interesting information from people close to Telecel regarding data services. Some of the information is very much public; like the fact that Telecel has extended the data services trial to more subscribers.

Econet freezes the accounts of subscribers who “stole” airtime

At about 4PM on Thursday I got a call from a friend with the news was that he and a couple of his workmates were able to recharge their Econet Buddie lines for free using some leaked recharge codes. He confirmed that he had managed credit his mobile phone with US$ 50 worth of airtime.

Econet takes Zim websites offline after hacking incident

Yesterday evening we reported that the Econet Broadband website had been hacked. The website stayed pretty much the same much for most the night but it was down when we tried it this morning.

Telecel makes move into mobile banking

Telecel customers will soon be able to use their cellphones to buy groceries and airtime, pay bills, deposit and withdraw money, transfer and send money.

Econet to launch email system for broadband subscribers

Econet Wireless has announced it will be launching an email system for its broadband subscribers before Christmas. Referring to email as the next phase of making Zimbabweans the most digitally connected people in Africa, Econet says it will issue broadband subscribers with free email addresses linked to the Econet mobile number.

Econet engages SA consultants to review broadband prices downwards

We’re getting information that Econet has engaged consultants from neighboring South Africa to work on the mobile broadband prices.

Telco working on a mobile broadband offering for early 2011

In a response to an email we sent them, Telco (Telecontract) revealed that they’re working on a mobile broadband service to be launched in 2011. Telco says “deployment of the first base stations is underway and commissioning of the commercial services is scheduled for early in 2011.”

Econet to switch on fibre as early as next week

On Tuesday this week, Econet announced that it has connected the Seacom optic fibre cable and is ready to switch on once the green light is given by the regulators. Well, we have more news on that today.

Details on the winners of Zimbabwe ICT 2010 Achievers Awards

On Sunday, we posted the winners of the inaugural Zimbabwe ICT Achievers Awards. We had just come from the event the previous night and didn’t have the full details of the achievements of the winners. I know it took a whole week to get these, and we’re sorry for that. But let’s focus on the positive: Courtesy of our friends at Just ICT, we now have the details.

ICT 2010 Achievers Awards Journalist of the Year: Mqhele Tshuma

Tshuma is a radio Journalist who has a keen interest in the field of Information, Communication Technology and has done stories along this sector in need of seeing the development of ICTs.

ICT 2010 Achievers Awards Businesswoman of the Year: Rudo Mudavanhu

Rudo Mudavanhu went into ICT straight from school and started as a programmer. She has grown in the industry since MS Dos was the thing as an operating system.

ICT 2010 Achievers Awards Company of the Year: Econet Wireless Zimbabwe

Econet has been introducing innovative communication products and services since it commenced operations. During the current year Econet launched two ground breaking services – mobile broadband and EcoLife insurance