Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

Possible Econet Data Bundle Prices Revealed

We just received an update on our Twitter feed from an alert Tafmak with details on the new Econet pricing for the data services to be announced 2 days from now.

Africom Delays Launch Of Paid Mobile Internet Services

When Africom launched mobile internet services about a month ago, it was with a one month free bandwidth promotion for all customers. The promotion was due to expire on 10 October, when Africom said it would unveil the tariff schedule for the new services. 10 October came and passed and it’s emerging Africom is not ready yet.

Econet to Launch Econet Broadband In Less Than A Week

Early this month, Econet promised to launch a comprehensive mobile Internet service at the end of the month. Talking to Econet staff lately, Techzim got the impression that Econet is about to launch something so impressive it’ll blow our minds off. And as one guy put it, “it’s going to be a game changer”.

PowerTel Opens Up 3G To More Subscribers As Mobile Broadband Competition Heats Up

We’ve just learnt that PowerTel, the state owned Internet Access Provider, has opened up its 3G service PowerConnect, to more subscribers. Powertel launched the mobile Internet service in 2007 but stopped signing up more subscribers after its network system reached capacity. Opening PowerConnect to new subscribers follows a network expansion project that has seen higher […]

Full Text of ZOL Press Statement on “Potraz accused of inaction”

Below is the full text of ZOL’s press statement we got hold of earlier today. The statement is in response to the article published in the Sunday Mail of 10 October 2010, titled “POTRAZ Accused of inaction” The statement will likely be in the press tomorrow or Friday. We posted an article about this issue early today.

Telecontract and ZOL Fighting Again

If you were in Zimbabwe in early April this year, you probably remember the nasty fallout between ZOL and Telecontract. The one that caused untold misery to over 200 ZOL customers who went for about two weeks without Internet after being disconnected by Telecontract.

Econet Says Wait Till Late October for Mobile Broadband

No sooner had I hit ‘publish’ on an article about the suspension of Ecoweb Mobile WiMax sales, than a new SMS notification buzzed on my phone. It’s a broadcast message from Econet (You get to do this when you own a huge mobile network) and it confirms what we’ve been writing these past few weeks. It says:

Ecoweb Quietly Suspends Selling Mobile WiMax

Many people wanting to buy the Ecoweb Mobile WiMax service this week were met with an unpleasant surprise: Ecoweb customer service agents are telling prospective customers that the service is no longer available for new customers.

Africom Launches Mobile Broadband, Gives Free Bandwidth for a Month

As promised last week at the launch of the new red Africom, Africom has launched their mobile broadband service this week. The mobile broadband service is available in Harare only at the moment

Econet to Launch ‘Econet Broadband’

We just learnt from a contact that Econet will be launching new broadband services shortly. The new services will be branded ‘Econet Broadband’. The services will be a combination of the 4G mobile WiMax from Ecoweb (a subsidiary) and the 3G services introduced by Econet last year

Botswana Fibre Optic Breaks, Affects Zim ISPs

Yesterday, the Botswana fibre optic cable that supplies wholesale International bandwidth to Powertel (a state owned Internet provider) broke. The cable damage was on a section in an area outside Francistown in Botswana.

Clouds of Change, Your Role in the Clouds

Cloud computing and virtualization are bringing a paradigm shift for the classic IT function. Adapting your skills to the new technical requirements could make all the difference and ultimately increase your visibility and depending on your current situation, those clouds on the horizon bring welcome relief or are the beginning of the end to your career.

EASSy to be Switched on Tomorrow, 16 July 2010

The EASSy undersea fibre cable will go live tomorrow, 16 July 2010. The EASSy commercial launch follows the completion of three successful tests that have been carried out on the cable in the last few months.

SEACOM’s Broken Undersea Fibre Won’t Be Fixed Until 22 July

According to an update on the SEACOM official blog, its broken undersea fibre cable between Mumbai and Mombasa will take until the July 22 to fix. The cable went down on 5 July and affected all SEACOM internet Traffic to India and Europe.

Ecoweb Embraces Social Media With New Website

Early this week, Ecoweb replaced their old (and kind of stale) website with a fresh, bright and actually nice looking one. It was long overdue and Ecoweb’s parent company, Econet, should consider doing something about theirs too. Besides the fresh look, what is really interesting about the new Ecoweb website is that it brings with it a social platform to (hopefully) engage

Telecel Currently Testing 3G, to Launch by September

After a couple of questions here on the blog about when Telecel will introduce 3G, we decided to reach out to Telecel last week to get an update straight from the horse’s mouth.

Econet Posts Network Upgrade YouTube Video

You’ve probably been wondering what Econet’s been up to lately. Or maybe you heard but wished you could get an inside look into the “90 Base Stations in 90 Days” work. Or maybe like me, you’re just curious to know the kind of work that goes into building a base station.

TelOne Has 15km of Fibre to Mutare And Is “Progressing Well”

This week, the Herald carried an interesting article on the national fibre backbone project. Carefully titled “Laying of fibre optic cable progresses well” the article disclosed that TelOne, the country’s only fixed telecom operator is digging a fibre cable trench to Mutare.

The Era Of Ultra Fast Ubiquitous Broadband Coming To Zim: The Cyber Security Concerns

Currently there are so many initiatives and developments by some of the big players in the networking and mobile industry in Zimbabwe such as Econet, Africom, AfricaOnline, MWeb, Powertel

Africom Launches VSAT Teleport Hub

One of the biggest Internet service providers in Zimbabwe, Africom, launched a VSAT teleport hub in Harare this morning. The teleport, pictured on the left, was installed with the help of SkyVision Global Networks, a global provider of IP connectivity over satellite systems.

The Case for Wide Area Network Optimisation Solutions in Zimbabwe: Part 2

My discussion in the first part was an overview of what the technology is all about and some of the benefits to businesses in Zimbabwe which have been suffering from underperforming connectivity solutions and inability to deliver key applications across the WAN.

Review: Ecoweb’s 4G Mobile WiMax

A little more than two weeks ago we got hold of an Ecoweb 4g Mobile WiMax kit. We’ve been using it since. Long enough to give a fair review. We cut the review up into separate sections so you can jump to the section you want

PowerTel Presenting On The Impact of Connectivity Through Submarine Fibre

This month’s Computer Society function is a presentation on the impact of Internet connectivity through the submarine optic fibre by PowertTel. The presentation will be made by PowerTel Sales and Marketing Manager, Willard Nyagwande and will be held at the Harare Club at 1730hrs today.

In March, PowerTel became the first telecoms operator to connect to high speed submarine optic fibre cable through through Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC)

Econet’s 4500km Optic Fibre National Backbone

Last week, we got our hands on more information regarding the Econet fibre project. The largest telecoms company in Zimbabwe is constructing the largest fibre cable network in Zimbabwe. It’s arguably one of the largest in the Southern Africa region too. It’s a 4,500km optic fibre network linking all Zimbabwe cities and major towns.

The main fibre route runs from Chirundu (Zimbabwe’s border with Zambia) through Chinhoyi, Harare, Chegutu, Kwekwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Gwanda, West Nicholson, down to Beitbridge where it will connect to a Seacom cable in South Africa.

Aquiva Closes US $7.2m Deal With HUAWEI

Today, news came out that Aquiva Wireless has sealed a telecoms deal worth US $7.2m with Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies. The deal itself is for the establishment of 92 bases stations for broadband Internet. This effectively sets Aquiva Wireless on a growth path to compete with Internet Access Providers that have extensive infrastructure in the country like Africom, Ecoweb, PowerTel, Telecontract and TelOne.

POTRAZ Calls ICT Providers To Help Define IAP/ISP Roles

The Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has invited all Internet Access Providers (IAPs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to a consultative meeting to be held in Harare next week. The purpose of the meeting: to discuss the role of the IAPs and the ISPs.

POTRAZ has been trying to regularize the operations of ISPs lately. Currently, only IAPs are licensed by POTRAZ. This arrangement has problems. Numerous problems actually.

The Ecoweb 4G Mobile WiMax Coverage Map

Since we posted that Ecoweb started selling 4G mobile WiMax last week, we’ve been trying to get some solid information on the network coverage of the new technology. We requested a coverage map but the response we got what was something to the effect of “tell us a location and we’ll tell you if it’s covered or not”. A polite way of saying “No”.

Ecoweb’s 4G Mobile WiMax Coming Next Week

We just got information that Ecoweb, the ISP arm of Zimbabwe telecoms giant, Econet, will start selling their 4G mobile WiMax next week. According to our source, Ecoweb is just waiting for an approval of the proposed pricing by the telecoms regulatory authority POTRAZ.

We got a glimpse of the pricing and hey, dear reader, if you want a piece of the latest (and ideally fastest) mobile internet in town, please prepare to reach deep into your pockets. The mobile WiMax dongle like the one pictured here will cost US $170. The dongle attaches to the USB port to enable your PC to connect to the WiMax network. Like Econet’s 3G, internet access is a flat monthly charge. But don’t let that ‘flat’ word fool you; it’s US $100 per month!

New Twist to ZOL/Telecontract Dispute: Telco Threatens To Sue

After the successful transfer of the 200 disconnected customers to Africom last week, we concluded in our weekly round-up, that the ZOL/Telco dispute was finally (and thankfully) over. We were wrong.

When Solar Meets Wireless – A Rural Telecommunications Solution – Part 3

Telecom Center (Phone & Internet Center)

Think of a telecom center as a setup with phone, e-mail and internet services. This model is pretty common in urban setups. And this model could be used for remote centers and even some urban centers whose electricity supply is more often off than on.

As such the telecom center will have 3 distinct elements: phone center, internet center and the control system.

This test system is for 8 phones and 8 workstations.