Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

TelOne forgets to register ‘’

For some strange reason, after generously spending advertising dollars on the launch of its new broadband product called Dotmore, TelOne forgot to register the ‘’ domain.

Brian Herlihy: SEACOM to provide IP services to Business Service Providers in Zim, Malawi

Techzim this week reached out to SEACOM chief executive, Brian Herlihy, on the recent announcement of the agreement with TDM for a direct link into landlocked countries, Zimbabwe and Malawi. In our communication with the SEACOM front man, he explained how SEACOM plans to provide more than just a basic international fibre network in these countries.

Dandemutande finally emerges

In a positive development to Zimbabwe’s ICT sector, one of the 15 licensed IAPs has finally emerged. Dandemutande, a part of Telerix Communications (50%owned by Masawara PLC) published an advertorial to all local media outlining its current accomplishments and intentions. According to the release the company (under its Utande division) has connected to the SEACOM cable on the coast of Mozambique at a cost of $9 million.

Telecel reimburses subscribers for mobile broadband charged without POTRAZ approval

At the beginning of May, we posted an article titled “Telecel started the paid broadband test without POTRAZ approval?”. The issue was that Telecel was charging customers for broadband before POTRAZ had given the green light. In fact they hadn’t even asked for approval. We contacted Telecel about this and they basically said it wasn’t an issue. Here’s what they told us:

How to: Ubuntu and mobile broadband connectivity

I have said elsewhere in the series that the Ubuntu experience is not complete unless you have internet; good internet I mean. In addition, I provided a guide to choosing your ISP. In this article I will provide you with a guide to connecting to the internet using mobile broadband (the dongles) but before doing so I must expressly say three things:

In depth focus: Zimbabwe needs to embrace cloud computing

Information management has never been as hot a subject as it is today. In such a context cloud computing is revolutionising the way the world operates by reducing costs, risks and exponentially scaling capabilities.

Dotmore: Telone’s branded broadband services unmasked

A big blue dot has ‘graced’ local papers over the past month with nothing more than a coming soon tagline. Yesterday’s Sunday Mail finally unmasked the dot that had aroused a lot of curiosity, it seems that even non techies we spoke to were trying to figure out its identity. Dotmore is TelOne’s branded offering for broadband.

Ubuntu and choosing your Zim ISP

In my previous article I mentioned the fact that Ubuntu is not much fun without the Internet. It has been my experience that not all Internet Service Providers (ISP) are the same and that there are some caveats for a Zimbabwean Ubuntu user/administrator when it comes to either choosing an ISP or administering his system especially in the matter of upgrades and downloads and indeed sometimes this is critical if your system will get connected to the internet at all.

Pictures: Africom’s new services, CDMA mobile phones and other gadgets

Last week, we got an opportunity to visit the Africom head office in Harare. Africom staff showed us some of the gadgets that the telecoms operator is promoting as part of the roll out of the new voice and data services. The gadgets are available for sale at the Africom shops and the company says it is working to establish reseller partnership with independent retailers in the country. We took a few photos of the gadgets. Here are the pictures:

Econet, POTRAZ, and the regulation of BlackBerry services in Zimbabwe

At the end of March this year, we reported that Econet’s intention to launch BlackBerry services had attracted the interest of the government. This we observed in an article in a state owned weekly newspaper, The Sunday Mail. Yesterday, the Sunday Mail had another report on the matter. This time the paper reports that the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has banned Econet from using BlackBerry services until it gets a license for the services.

The infamous pirate Jack Sparrow plagues local ISPs

It feels like yesterday when l was starting up an experiential marketing business. One of my clients was Ster Kinekor Theatres. I vividly remember the regional GM regularly flying into Zim for reconnaissance meetings; each time we ran through the SWOT analysis one bugger kept popping up! Ster Kinekor HQ (South Africa) placed a bounty on this bugger by bringing in SAFACT (Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft) but it seemed like no one gave a hoot locally. After carrying out a research survey we ‘discovered’ that approximately 60% of our market were buying movies on the street, at Avondale or the Village flee market…Those were interesting times…it appears as if they’ve taken a new twist.

NetOne set to roll out mobile broadband services

NetOne, Zimbabwe’s state owned mobile operator, today started and advertising campaign for Internet services. The adverts promise NetOne is going to deliver “the world like you’ve never seen or heard it”.

Cruz Reader tablet giveaway: Spot what’s missing

As you enter Harare’s CBD, a couple of massive billboards scream for your attention. They form a key part of Econet’s goliath advertising blitz. We spotted something missing from this particular ad, and thought of it as a great way to hold a competition.

Broadlands narrowing in on 5G?

Going over reports from the ICT global conference held in Harare last week, we came across something that made us stop. It’s a report published by “The Zimbabwean” that basically says Broadlands Networks is preparing to launch a 5G network. Here’s an extract from the report:

Some 1.8 million Econet subscribers use mobile broadband

At the “Thinking Global” ICT conference held in Harare two days ago, Econet disclosed the number of subscribers using mobile broadband internet services on its network. That number is a staggering 1.8 million. Staggering because that’s more than 30% of the total Econet subscribers (5,500,000).

Africom readies launch of new services, likely voice & more broadband

Africom, one of Zimbabwe’s largest Internet Access Providers, has started what appears to be an advertising campaign for the launch of some new services. In the print press today, a tech company, which definitely is Africom (we’ve confirmed) has a teaser advert for some data and voice services.

How mobile broadband changed everything

Mobile broadband has had a huge positive impact on the connectivity landscape in Zimbabwe. There’s more choice now, more competition, and so many positive outcomes from that. It’s a watershed moment in the country’s connectivity history. Of course, right now the benefits are still clouded by the ridiculous mobile broadband pricing by some operators, but looking back to this moment, when enough competition has taken care of the pricing, it will all be clear just how much of a jump this is.

Gigatel launches new VSAT hub in Zimbabwe

Gigatel, the company we wrote about in September last year when it launched VoIP services, has launched a new V-SAT hub in Zimbabwe. The new hub is a Shiron product and operates on C-Band frequencies. It was supplied and engineered by Gilat Satcom, a global satellite communications provider. The announcement was made through a press release on the Gilat website.

Ever been to Dongle-wanaland?

If you either hated history or fell asleep halfway through the lesson; Gondwanaland was a great big continental block that contained what we refer to as Africa, India, Australia, and other sub-continents. Its existence is based on theoretical assumptions related to the earth’s evolution.

ICT incumbents, the times they are a-changin’

I’ve met more than enough Zimbabweans (geeks and ordinary humans alike) who feel that the local ICT sector is not up to scratch. When asked to specify what being “up to scratch” is, most immediately and rather animatedly set off an explosive cache of various beliefs, facts and figures. However correct some of the well informed opinion holders may be, there are a few cold facts that have rendered their sentiments to the confines of wishful thinking. They are as follows:

The Econet backbone optic fibre map

We saw the map below in Econet’s financial results briefings for 2011 and thought to post it here. It shows the progress of the fibre backbone project that the largest mobile operators is working. As you can see, the section running from Harare through Bulawayo to Beitbridge is now fully operational. It also shows the fibre rings in Harare and Bulawayo have been completed.

Set up your own home Wi-Fi with these simple steps

This guest post was authored by Tapiwa Mapani. He’s not a trained geek and says “I just have a restless mind that makes me experiment with this type of stuff and most of the time to great success.” He has a wireless network setup at his home office which uses a mobile broadband USB dongle and a wireless router. He shares how you can setup a similar wireless network.

Econet’s promotional broadband prices not that promotional

As Telecel announced the opening of its mobile broadband test to all subscribers yesterday, Econet posted colorful adverts in the newspapers declaring “Up to 50% off on broadband tariffs. Now you can enjoy more broadband for less.”

Press release: Telecel gives all customers pilot project data access

Telecel customers with data capable handsets are now able to access data services as part of a new phase of Telecel’s data services preparatory pilot project.

The latest phase, which began on Friday (May 13), is intended to enable Telecel to test its data services billing system and the national reach of its data services capability.

Telecel started the paid broadband test without POTRAZ approval?

As you probably know already, last week Telecel announced through SMS that they would start charging US 10 cents per megabyte for mobile broadband usage. The charging started on May 1. Before that date, mobile broadband on the Telecel network was free for all.

Telecel response on broadband pricing: it’s all just a test

On Friday last week, Telecel advised broadband subscribers through SMSs that all mobile broadband usage would be charged US 10 cents per megabyte starting 1 May 2011. The charging did start as indicated but Telecel says it’s still just a test.

Telecel ends free broadband test, to start charging 10 cents a megabyte

It’s official, the Telecel free mobile broadband test is over. Today, Telecel advised mobile broadband users through SMS that the test period has been finalized and starting Monday 1 May (2011), all internet usage will be charged at US 10 cents per megabyte.

Here’s the text of the SMS:

Valley Technologies, a possible game changer for Zimbabwe’s telecoms industry

Today, we spent the better part of the morning at the Spiritage network operation center in Harare. We were invited along with a dozen other writers from the various media houses in Zimbabwe to a “pre-launch media briefing” of the business group.

First, let me say of all the Zim internet access providers (IAPs) we’ve talked to in recent months, today was the first time we felt we were at a company that’s set to take on the big incumbents head-on and possibly redefine Zimbabwe’s telecoms industry going forward.

Econet posts mega profits, grows subscribers base to 5.5 million

Econet has just released its financial results for the full year to February 2011. It’s another mega profits year for Zimbabwe’s largest telecoms firm; profits after tax for the period stand at US$140.9 million this year, up 24% from last year’s results.

5.12 Terabits WACS undersea cable lands in Cape Town

Today, the West African Cable Systems (WACS), arrived at the shores of Cape Town in South Africa. The cable connects to the United Kingdom through the West African coast where it has 11 connection points in the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Congo, the DRC, Angola and Namibia.