A few months ago a friend lend me his laptop and I did what I always do; partitioned it and installed the latest Ubuntu operating system. It was a pretty old machine so the built in wireless card was no good. So I decided to do a little shopping and I was captivated by the Intex usb wireless adapter: it is cheap (about $14 in most shops) and portable (no larger than a flash disk). The downside, as I later discovered the hard way, is that this adapter requires a little tweaking to work with Ubuntu.
The big news this week is obviously Google Plus, Google’s new social networking service. It generally seems to be liked so far. Using it for a just a few hours, our first impression is that the service is a serious competitor and performs way better than Facebook on many fronts, especially on sharing stuff with just the right group of friends.
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.
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:
After setting off on a 500km journey this morning, we arrived in Chisumbanje and Middle Sabi to witness sheer miracles at work. Green Fuel Zimbabwe is hard at work building Africa’s biggest ethanol plant. We’re still touring the place and managed to get a good VSAT connection to upload the following pictures:
We’ve just found out that VimpelCom; the Russian based telecom’s giant recently merged with Egypt’s Orascom. What this effectively means is that Telecel Zimbabwe is now part of the world’s sixth largest mobile services group (with over 186 million subscribers worldwide). Orascom has a 60% stake in Telecel Zimbabwe. The local operation falls into the Orasom-VimpelCom group’s African interests along with Leo (Namibia), Telecel (Burundi & Central African Republic), Djeezy (Algeria), and Mobinil (Egypt).
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:
A Namibian publication reported today that Trustco Holdings has suspended (without pay) two journalists working for a newspaper it owns called Informanté. The suspensions have been handed out to the two following a story carried by the newspaper concerning the fallout between Trustco Mobile and Econet Wireless Zimbabwe.
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.
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.
We’ve just received the updated POTRAZ statics of Zimbabwe mobile subscribers. We are told the figures have just been updated this past week and represent the statistics for the second quarter of the year.
Nokia releases N9 On 21 June, Nokia released its latest MeeGo-based smartphone, the N9. The N9 is Nokia’s first pure touch smartphone and it runs on Meego 1.2. The phone spots a curved glass 3.9 inch AMOLED display, a 8megapixel camera and comes with storage capacities of 16GB and 64GB.
Zimbabwe is poised to benefit from a deal announced yesterday between SEACOM and Telecomunicacoes de Mocambique (TDM), Mozambique’s telecoms parastatal. The company has been granted the go ahead to connect our landlocked country to the undersea cable. This is expected to have a positive impact on corporate and individual consumers in the not too distant future.
No sooner had we posted the article (and our thoughts) on Free SMS Zimbabwe yesterday than we got pointed to a free SMS service by ForgetMeNot Africa (FMNA). The service is called Dasuba. It’s still in Beta for now but it’s available to anyone with access to the web. Just go to www.dasuba.com to give it a try. Currently though, you can only send messages to Econet.
One of the good things about the good old Firefox 3 was that when in Ubuntu flash videos were downloaded to the /tmp directory. All you had to do was wait for the buffering to complete, minimize the Firefox window, got to the /tmp directory and copy and paste the video into the folder of your choosing. Playing the video is easy enough; vlc plays pretty much any format from .mp4 to .flv.
Africa’s Telecoms Titans is a series by Techzim profiling the top 20 leading mobile operators on the continent. Each segment focuses on a specific mobile operator with insights into services provided including marketing and technical competencies.
How would you like using the internet to send free SMSs that have adverts appended? Something like “How are you Sumba? – Send money to Zimbabwe with ABC Zim Ltd,www.abczimltd.com”. Really, we would love to know, please comment below. In the meantime, here’s more about the this new service.
Facebook is just one of those platforms that a lot of internet users spend their time on. The platform (and other social media websites) has long been recognised as a business platform that companies can use to interface with consumers. Some local brands have successfully used the platform to communicate and stay in constant touch their customers.
Renewable energy is a sector on flux. Global greats like Google have risen to the challenges imposed by global warming and rising demand for energy through investments in sustainable power sources. Solar City is one such company that has benefitted from the energy race; Google has invested $280 million so far in the company. For the sake of continuity let’s think of Econet as our local equivalent of a Google of sorts; in such a scenario Econet Energy has a very solid shot at becoming a regional energy titan.
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.
Since TrustCo terminated the Econet agreement some 2 weeks ago, TrustCo hadn’t spoken about the issue. It is Econet Chairman, Tawanda Nyambirai, who gave the Econet side of the story which basically amounted to: TrustCo demanded more money than was due to them, spammed Econet subscribers, threatened to terminate the agreement when Econet complained about all this and when Econet called their buff, they backed out but Econet wouldn’t have it.
A big vacancy ad from Powertel appeared in yesterday’s Sunday Mail, by the looks of it the company is bolstering its forces for a major onslaught. In these interesting of times, Powertel regrets the major advances enemy camps have gained at its expense.
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:
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.
Part of our objective as Techzim is to provide our readers with relevant local and regional tech information. We believe this is what sets us apart as an information source. In addition, we have decided to start providing a summary of global tech news once at the end of each week. Starting today, we will pick a selection of significant global tech stories that catch our attention and post a brief summary here. We hope it increases the value of content and starts some discussion on global tech issues.
When we posted the article about Africom’s very low voice tariffs last week, one of the readers commenting on the article expressed doubt that the Africom network has interconnection with the other voice networks (Econet, Telecel, NetOne and TelOne) to allow subscribers to make off-net calls. This week, we visited Africom and sadly found out this actually is the case. Well, partly.