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Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

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Of Econet’s Liquid Telecom Fibre And Harare’s ‘Digital Revolution’

An article about the Econet metro fibre network in The Standard last week, had the following takeaway:

IMAGINE Harare, in its dilapidated state, being the most digitalised city in the world. To many, this may sound too far-fetched but for Liquid Telecom, a subsidiary of Econet and Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda it is only a matter of time before the dream is realised.

Well, yes, too far-fetched actually. The article goes on to explain a Public Private Partnership (now a buzz phrase with politicians here) where Econet’s satellite operator subsidiary, Liquid Telecom and the Harare City Council are embarking on a US$ 3.5million project to install fibre optic rings in the city.


Canonical Releases Beta 1 Of Ubuntu 10.04

Canonical released Beta 1 of Ubuntu 10.04 today. The latest version of the OS that brought Linux to the people is scheduled to be released on the 29th of April. It’s a long term support (LTS) release, and this time named after a cat, ‘Lucid Lynx’.

The Zimbabwe loco team has been active the past couple of years promoting the Ffee OS, and last year registered a milestone when the Parliament of Zimbabwe moved over all their desktop and server computers to Ubuntu 8.o4.


Chips Computing Services Wins Best Achiever Award For X3 ERP

Chips Computing Services has won the Best Achiever Award for Sage Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) X3, barely a year after the product was launched in Zimbabwe.

Chips Computing Services, which holds the Sage Pastel franchise in Zimbabwe and is the official distributor of Sage and Pastel products, won the award, which is based on sales, ahead of many other participants from across the world, including South Africa and Australia.


Zimbabwe’s Mobile Penetration Doesn’t Stand At A Mere 20%

Casually reading an article posted by the Herald a week ago, I was met with a statement that made me stop:

…Potential for better returns in the sector is abound considering that the penetration rate by Econet, Telecel and NetOne, largely confined to urban areas, stands at a mere 20 percent in a country with more than 12 million people.


Communications Regulators’ Association of Southern Africa Holds Impact Assessment Workshop in Zimbabwe

The Communications Regulators’ Association of Southern Africa (CRASA) will, starting tomorrow, hold an impact assessment training workshop at Elephant Hills in Victoria Falls. The 2 day workshop is aimed at providing forums where awareness of the need for impact assessment in the policy and regulation making processes are discussed.

The workshop is being attended by regulatory authorities and the SADC region telecommunications and internet service providers.

CRASA operations manager explains in the secretariat message for the workshop:


Weekly Roundup – 20 March 2010

PowerTel and the BTC Fibre Deal

There was an article in this week’s Sunday Mail on PowerTel’s fibre deal with Botswana Telecommunications Corporation. Again no mention of the bandwidth capacity being purchased. We searched around and found this pdf on the BTC website. It says “…under the agreement with BTC will get access to direct international undersea connectivity with the SynchronousTransport Module One (STM1) at a maximum of 155Mbps.”

The PowerTel managing director, Samuel Maminimini made the usual promises business leaders make after achieving such milestones:


Telecel Zimbabwe’s Board Suspends Acting Chairperson, Jane Mutasa

Telecel Zimbabwe’s board of directors has announced that its acting chairperson, Jane Mutasa, has been suspended from the board to enable her to defend herself against the criminal charges that have been preferred against her in Zimbabwe.

The following statement was issued after a board meeting that took place today:

“At the extraordinary board meeting of the Board of Telecel Zimbabwe, held on March 19, 2010, the directors resolved to suspend Mrs Mutasa as director of the company to afford her an opportunity to defend herself against the charges that have been preferred against her by the state following allegations of fraud brought to the police by the company.


Pastel Software Zimbabwe Announces Launch Of New Evolution Modules

Pastel Software Zimbabwe, the official Sage Pastel distributor in Zimbabwe, has revealed plans to launch new Pastel Evolution point of sale and branch synchronisation add-on modules in June this year. This will be the first time these modules have been available in Zimbabwe.

Experts from Sage Pastel International’s headquarters in South Africa will present, explain and demonstrate the new modules on June 7 and 8.

Pastel Software Zimbabwe runs as a division of Chips Computing Services and distributes Pastel software directly and through a network of local dealers. It is the only Platinum Certified Sage Pastel Partner in the country. Sage Pastel grades its business partners as Silver, Gold and Platinum, with Platinum being the highest grade. The only other partner in Zimbabwe, Omni Africa, is a certified Gold Business Partner.


Econet Slashes Off-Peak Calling Rates To 10 cents

Ok. The good news first: Starting this week, Econet has slashed its off-peak calling rates to just 10 cents. Off-peak here refers to 10PM to 6AM everyday.

The not so good news:…


Egypt, South Africa And Nigeria Account For More Than 80% Of Google Code Jam Africa Qualifying Contestants

The first round of the Google Code Jam Africa 2010 is over. Of the 54 countries in Africa, only 18 made it through the qualification round of Code Jam Africa 2010 and of these, only 3 countries accounted for more than 80% of the contestants; Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria. This is despite there being no country specific entry restrictions (well, save for Internet connectivity).

An indication of the countries with super brain developers? Or maybe that of those with interest in software development? Maybe of those that knew about the contests?