Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates



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Econet lobbying for reduced customs duties on smartphones

Buying a phone or most electrical gadgets in Zimbabwe has been a nightmare for citizens because of duties. The excessive customs duties on these devices have made it a struggle for Zimbos to buy smartphones and Econet recently claimed that there is a 52% smartphone penetration rate in their latest annual results. This they noted […]

Smartphones To Have Higher Penetration Than Featurephones In Tanzania By 2024

When 2019 ends tomorrow, featurephone subscriptions in Tanzania will account for 70% of total handset subscriptions. GlobalData – an analytics company- estimates that over the next 4 years, Smartphone subscriptions will grow at an annual rate of 19% and surpass feature phones by 2024. That means by the end of 2024, there will be over […]

Mobile internet use in Zimbabwe increases by over 100% in just a year

However, the most pronounced increase is evident in the year on year comparison of mobile data consumption. In the first quarter of 2015, mobile data use stood at 750.154 million megabytes. That number has since jumped by 101.3% to the 1.510 billion megabytes total recorded for March 2016.

Southern Africa’s smartphone penetration rate increases to 24% – gives impression of Zimbabwe’s smartphone usage

According to GSMA, the Southern Africa Development Community’s (SADC) smartphone penetration at the end of 2015 stood at 24% against a mobile subscriber rate of 42%.

Mobile broadband connections account for 28% of connections in Africa, expected to increase to 60% by 2020 – GSMA

According to GSMA, the number of mobile broadband connections is expected to triple over the next 5 years. By 2020 Africa is expected to have 720 million smartphones, representing an increase of 494 million new smartphones between 2015 and 2020.

NetOne makes major changes to Dollar a Day Promo, triggers negative responses

NetOne recently announced that its Dollar A Day promotion will now be offered as a bundle under its existing lineup of VAS services along with a host of changes that include adjusted free minutes. These changes haven’t been received warmly.

How taxes could have negatively affected Zimbabwe’s internet penetration

There is one other huge change that happened during the period of decline. The government introduced a 25% import duty on mobile devices in the last part of 2014. This meant that distributors passed on the cost to the consumer and all devices became more expensive.

Econet records 7 million subscribers for its Broadband services

However, one other number that stood out for us related to Econet’s broadband services. According to to the analysts’ presentation which accompanied the results, Econet has 7 million broadband subscribers. Econet says this number is an improvement from the 4,7 million broadband subscribers that the operator had in the same period last year.

Telecel to introduce LTE in 2016, downplays the service’s immediate relevance in Zim

According to Angeline Vere, the CEO of Telecel, the operator has been piloting LTE in parts of Zimbabwe and will be activating it in the first part of 2016. However, she pointed out that the service isn’t immediately relevant in Zimbabwe because of a limited smartphone penetration.

NetOne takes lead on national LTE rollout, now has 45 active base stations

State-owned Mobile Operator, NetOne has taken the lead in LTE rollout with 45 base stations active throughout Zimbabwe and another 15 set for activation in the short term. What is the operator’s strategy and will it be any better than what Econet has tried?

Liquid Telecom & Hai, POTRAZ on infrastructure(again), cheap phones from Steward bank: Podcast

[powerpress] In this episode of the podcast, we discuss the launch of Hai, an ISP in Zambia owned by Liquid Telecom, the latest on POTRAZ and infrastructure sharing as well as the entry-level smartphones that Steward Bank is selling on credit to college students. If you have a comment or anything to add to any […]

Econet now has its own USSD News service

It could be mere coincidence that as Econet introduces a content account disrupting the Zimpapers mobile news service, a new USSD based news platform is launched. However, some would speculate that Econet in fact benefited from the confusion by bringing in their own, or a new player in the SMS News VAS.

What does Zimbabwe’s insignificant smartphone penetration mean?

The smartphone penetration rate in Zimbabwe is approximately 15% which actually means that about 85% of all mobile communication in Zimbabwe is largely through dumb phones (mbudzi) and feature phones. These are some humbling statistics in terms of what it actually means for developments in broadband.

The GTeL SL5.5 Xtra launch in pictures

Here are some of the pictures from GTeL’s launch of its new flagship device the SL5.5 Xtra. This was held in Harare and the event was graced GTeL’s strategic partners, brand ambassadors and stakeholders from different sectors.

Local phone brand, GTeL, launches its new $495 flagship device, the SL 5.5 Xtra

GTeL just launched a new flagship device, the SL5.5 Xtra. This dual SIM LTE phone comes with impressive specs like a 13 MP camera, octacore processor, an awesome battery and power management tech. At $495, how will it hold up against other mobile heavyweights like the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge.

$20 for a Blackberry Curve: Harare’s thriving market for street devices

The streets of Harare have turned into virtual malls with an assortment of devices that include gadgets. Even phones and tablets now have a place there, with smartphones going for as little as $20

Gtel enters Kenya, claims this as its stake in 4th African country outside Zim

Local mobile device concern, Gtel, has entered the Kenyan market with a device distribution partnership with the largest mobile network there, Safaricom. This apparently marks Gtel’s entry into a fourth African market after South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia.

How the Econet device fire sale is actually a great thing for the operator

Econet is selling $24 smartphones. So what, big deal. It’s probably just another case of aggressive retail tactics in an extremely challenging market. The logic behind this seems pretty obvious. We know that the only a few other things, like pop music hits and yesterday’s news outpace mobile phone tech in terms of losing relevance […]

Econet slashes handset prices, you can now get a smartphone for $24

If you are looking for a great deal on a smartphone you might want to go check out the devices that Econet is selling at discounted prices. The mobile network operator is out to push a lot of smart and dumb phones and it has kicked off an aggressive ad campaign to go along with this. […]

NetOne’s $200 million bet on LTE; is this project worth it?

We’ve already established that LTE isn’t yet that much of a reality in Zimbabwe. We only have a smidgen of the service thanks to Econet’s efforts and when you do get to the areas that have LTE you need to use a modem for a laptop/PC based connection. All that is supposed to change courtesy of […]

Gtel looks beyond phones, introduces its own tablet

You can never get enough of screen size. That logic that has been the driver behind the transformation of mobile phones from small and easy to handle toys into larger, well-sized devices with ample displays. It’s what makes sense in a world where we watch more video on mobile devices than ever before. That’s what […]

Perhaps the Honorable Minister Lazarus Dokora has a point

I will have it be known beforehand that I actually have a rap for being anti-establishment, you know the whole swim against the school (pun intended) thing like Jesus. But in this instance I feel I need to take a stance and accept the novelty of allowing phones into schools because as a person who […]

The top 10 mobile phone & tablet brands on the Zimbabwean market

We recently talked about how Android is now the leading mobile operating system in Zimbabwe, something that is attributable to a lot of factors around the availability of cheap Android devices. But what are the top 10 mobile phone and tablet brands in Zimbabwe right now? It turns out that in all of this Android […]

Econet tries out Twitter via USSD

How relevant is Twitter to Zimbabwe? Is the #Twimbo community not growing fast enough? it’s hard to say really, but it would seem that mobile operator Econet is making the biggest effort to get as many of us on the social network as possible. This time it’s through a Twitter via USSD service. We got a […]

3 major highlights from the latest Ericsson Mobility Report

The latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report was recently released, providing analysis of the latest mobile data and predictions on mobility and live networks for the global markets. A lot of the information shared in the report points largely to global trends but the highlights do give an interesting indication of the uptake of […]

Get ready for the $30 smartphone from TECNO

It has been reported by Biztech Africa that TECNO, a device manufacturer that has a strong focus on the the African mobile space is set to introduce a smartphone priced at a under $30 next year. This comes after an executive from TECNO made the remarks in an interview at Africacom last week. The company […]

EcoCash introducing service with Western Union, what can we expect?

EcoCash, the mobile money arm of Econet Wireless, is set to launch a new service that allows Western Union money transfers to be made directly into a recipient’s EcoCash wallet. Western Union already has a similar web to mobile money transfer arrangement with network operators in and outside Africa such as Kenya’s Safaricom, Tigo from […]

Zim smartphone penetration now over 15%, but what exactly is a smartphone?

Last week Econet released its half year results that carried indicators of the mobile network operator’s performance and placement in telecoms. According to the same report, Zimbabwe now has a smartphone penetration rate that now stands at over 15%. This is an improvement from the 10% that Econet also referenced in its last financial report […]

Why mobile marketing is unavoidable

Mobile marketing is here to stay and it will continue to evolve into the definitive cost-effective marketing channel with the greatest reach and engagement potential. Marketers must also awaken to its possibilities with some urgency as they might continue to put their marketing dollars in channels that do not deliver similar results at the same […]