Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates



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A limited violation of Net Neutrality can help the education sector in Zimbabwe without serving corporate greed

I have always found the debate around net neutrality to be outrageous. What is there to debate — Should capitalism be allowed to reap the nursery sown and grown by socialism? Should corporate Darwinian free market chaos be allowed to overrun the fair, just order of the virtual realm as well? Should the world’s greatest […]

What’s All This Fuss About Net Neutrality And What Does The US Ruling Mean For Us

Have you been seeing all the talk about net neutrality all over the internet and wondering what it is all about? Yes? Then you have come to the right place. I would strongly suggest you read a previous article we published on the issue first. Click here. Net neutrality has been topical because the FCC […]

Should you care about the Net Neutrality debate? In short: Yes!

At the Broadband Economy Conference held last month the issue of net neutrality was discussed by top executives from various relevant organisations. We then summarised what was discussed and gave links to the videos of the panel discussions and called it a day. That was premature, it turns out. A conversation I had recently made […]

Bundles, Zero-rating and Net Neutrality in Zimbabwe’s #BroadbandEconomy. A critical issue unprioritised

One of the key issues discussed at Techzim’s just ended Broadband Economy Conference was that of Bundles for third party sites & apps, Zero rating and net neutrality. After a net neutrality discussion at previous Broadband Economy Conference had established that the telecoms regulator, POTRAZ, didn’t consider net neutrality a critical issue, we decided this […]

WhatsApp is NOT news! – Social media’s dominance in Zimbabwean internet use creates fertile ground for fake news

Zimbabwe hasn’t been immune to the challenges of fake news. Other than the emergence of news platforms that rely on clickbait there is also the impact of internet access being limited largely to social media.

How WhatsApp is stripping away the phone number, and why mobile operators are panicked

The phone number was traditionally a valuable asset to mobile telecoms operators. Once a customer bought a sim card, the MNO’s job was to keep that customer on the network as long as possible while ensuring that the customer was using the sim card for things that made the network money – making calls, sending SMSs, mobile money transactions, buying […]

Allo, Google’s messaging app serves up artificial intelligence brilliantly, but still won’t beat WhatsApp

Allo, Google’s messaging app serves up artificial intelligence brilliantly, but in Zimbabwe it still won’t beat WhatsApp.

EU stops network level ad blocking citing net neutrality issues, role of African regulators highlighted in the process

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) recently published its guidelines on net neutrality which will be used as for crafting net neutrality rules by regulators in Europe. Some of the guidelines touched on the issue of network level ad blocking which has already been trialled by some mobile networks in countries like […]

Econet’s ad blocking is great, but it’s also a net neutrality violator, regulatory minefield & potential Mafia shakedown

Tucked away in Econet’s plans to deliver a better web experience there are risks of major regulatory violations as well as the unethical application of technology under the guise of protecting subscribers.

Net Neutrality unboxed: What proponents in Zimbabwe fail to appreciate

Lately there has been increased interest, interference, regulation and policy pronouncements in the Zimbabwean telecommunications arena; while some of these initiatives at face value seem beneficial to the consumer, there is need to unpack them to understand their import in terms of the possible ulterior motives. In this piece I will focus on the proposed […]

MISA & POTRAZ open dialogue on net neutrality as Zimbabwean internet use falls prey to silos

Earlier today the Media Insititute of Southern Africa (MISA) and the local telecoms regulator, POTRAZ, brought together the country’s internet service providers and mobile networks operators for a discussion on net neutrality.

Newsday Zimbabwe activates Facebook Instant Articles, embraces new media realities

Less than a week ago, Newsday, one of Zimbabwe’s leading daily publications started using the feature. This national daily which is owned by Alpha Media Holdings becomes the first major Zimbabwean publication to use Instant Articles ahead of its rivals like the ZSE listed Zimpapers and Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ).

Telecoms regulator, POTRAZ, has NOT banned WhatsApp bundles

Every year, we post something drastic for April Fools and this year we decided to go touch something a lot of people clearly love; their WhatsApp Bundles. So we ran with “Local telecoms regulator POTRAZ bans WhatsApp bundles, operators given 7 days to comply“, and as per tradition, at 12 midday we added an update to […]

Local telecoms regulator POTRAZ bans WhatsApp bundles, operators given 7 days to comply (April Fools)

Zimbabwe’s telecommunications regulator, POTRAZ, has announced that it will be banning all over the top service bundles for applications like WhatsApp, Facebook and Opera Mini.

Zimbabwean developer creates a way for users to access the internet through WhatsApp

A local developer and tech security buff, Trevor Sibanda, decided to develop his own bot service, called Zimbot. He has fashioned it around content that is specific to a Zimbabwean audience. So far he has been trying out its demo version and gathering feedback from the pilot users to fine tune the bot service.

Facebook opens Instant Articles marking a new era for African publishers

Now that the Instant Articles tool is going to be an option for sharing content with an audience that is already engaged through social media, publishers that have often used Facebook just for promoting content and trying to lure readers to their own platforms can embrace the social network as a primary publisher’s tool.

Zim Hip Hop artist earns over $5,000 in 5 days using WhatsApp & mobile money to sell a single

The rap artist’s latest single, Tongogara, from his upcoming album Morning Glory, is being distributed via WhatsApp for $1 with fans paying for the track via mobile money. So far it has earned the artist over US$5,000 in less than a week.

Free Basics & internet colonialism in Zim, Econet’s Chitoro,’O’ Level STEM, Facebook Classifieds – podcast

In this episode, we discuss the ban of Free Basics in India and the subsequent discussion on “internet colonialism” that was kicked up by Mark Andreesen; the EcoCash remittances strategy around Econet’s acquisition of Chitoro; Facebook Classifieds in Zimbabwe and how the Ordinary Level results are feeding into government’s drive for STEM.

Mark Zuckerberg’s disappointment with India’s ban on Free Basics, and the internet’s reaction

While net neutrality proponents celebrated the victory, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook and the man pushing for Free Basics took to Facebook (where else, really) to express his disappointment and to let people know that his team wouldn’t be giving up on India or its mission to offer a free internet.

How well does Econet zero rating work for an app? Here’s biNu’s 400% growth story

About a year ago, when the zero rating of an app called biNu was announced by Econet we wrote in an article titled “Will Econet Zero-rating restore it to former glory“: In terms of popularity, this move may spell biNu’s come back in Zimbabwe. The free in yesteryear’s “free SMS” is back! This past November biNu’s total active users were just […]

India bans Facebook’s Free Basics – offers Zimbabwean regulators another chance at self reflection

The net neutrality cause got a huge boost today when the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) permanently banned Facebook’s Free Basics on the grounds of net neutrality violations.

Telecel & Free Basics, WhatsApp Regulation in Africa, POTRAZ Report & Zim Telecoms – Podcast

Telecel was recently confirmed as the mobile operator which will be offering Facebook and’s Free Basics service. We discuss that issue in this episode, as well as the impact WhatsApp regulation will have on African telecoms. We also touch on the latest POTRAZ report and some of the highlights sprinkled in the industry’s quarterly release.

Telecel to partner Facebook for free internet service

In the latest bit of information to be shared about the service, it has been confirmed that Telecel is the mobile operator that will be partnering with Facebook and for the launch in the Zimbabwe. This information was shared by sources working on the Free Basics implementation.

Here’s what you need to sign up your website for Facebook’s Free Basics

Free Basics is set for launch in Zimbabwe and here are some requirements that site owners have to meet if they want to sign up their properties on it.

Facebook’s Free Basics service shut down in Egypt

Egypt becomes the second country to block the service after India made the move as part of a response to concerns raised around Free Basics’ net neutrality violations. Etisalat Egypt, Facebook, and Egyptian officials haven’t mentioned the reason behind the shutdown in Egypt but there has been a lot of speculation that the country is also concerned about the same net neutrality violations.

Facebook to introduce Free Basics internet in Zimbabwe, the project from Facebook which facilitates free internet access to specific website and platforms, and is now working under the name of Free Basics, is set to be launched for the Zimbabwean market in January 2016.

Classifieds CEO: Ownai zero-rating could present a challenge, but we’re in a good position to combat it

Some aspects of their offering which leverage their incumbency as Zim’s largest MNO could present a challenge for us. However, additional experience, technology and marketing from OAM put us in a good position to combat that.

A practical proposal for zero rating & net neutrality that operators may actually love

Steve Song, suggests that we explore treating connectivity to the internet the same way we treat connectivity to the phone network – that is we let everyone be part of the network at a very basic low connection speed like 2G

Black Friday deals, Econet in court, Seldon closed, Zim’s domain issue – Podcast

In this podcast, we discuss some of the Black Friday deals, including some that will last over the next few days. We also discuss Econet’s court case, the return of Ownai, Zimbabwe’s domain issue and the closure of Econet Global’s Seldon.

Ownai, Econet’s startup offically launched with an objective to “help small businesses”

Econet is looking past all of that, though. According to Douglas Mboweni, Econet’s CEO, the telecoms operator wants its customers who are running small businesses to see the operator as a partner that will help them make money. Tools like Ownai are supposed to enable this by offering free marketing of goods to Econet’s broadband customers.