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Econet Wireless launches LTE in Zimbabwe

By , Journalist
Zimbabwe , 21 Aug 2013

Econet Wireless launches LTE in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has become Africa’s seventh country to offer a LTE network after mobile operator Econet Wireless unveiled the next generation high-speed internet service on Wednesday.

The LTE service is planned to be available at all of Zimbabwe’s airports and the central business districts of Harare and Bulawayo.

The resort town of Victoria Falls, where the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly kicks off at the end of August, is also planned to have the service.

Econet - Zimbabwe’s largest mobile operator with an estimated eight million subscribers - has helped Zimbabwe become the seventh country after Angola, South Africa, Namibia, Mauritius, Tanzania and Uganda to have a LTE service.

Prior to Econet launching LTE in Zimbabwe, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) ‘Evolution to LTE report’ noted that the above-mentioned six other countries have LTE networks in Africa.

However, Econet’s LTE service is limited to accessibility via LTE-specific modems.

Plans are in place, though, to roll out accessibility to mobile phones as well, Econet officials said.

“We are officially launching LTE today through dongles or modems. We are making it our business to move to 4G mobile phones,” said Stern Henning, the chief commercial and customer relations officer at Econet Wireless.

Econet chief executive officer, Douglas Mboweni, said the hosting of the UNWTO tourism event by Zimbabwe and co-host Zambia is an opportunity to show the world that Zimbabwe "is not dead and buried” - especially in light of the Econet LTE launch.

“We are very much alive, and we have kept pace with developments in the world," Mboweni said.

He said his group, which also incorporates internet wholesaler Liquid Telecom and internet service provider ZOL, has invested heavily in ensuring that telecommunications services in areas such as Victoria Falls are ‘world class’.

In light of ongoing mobile price wars in Zimbabwe, operators in Zimbabwe have invested heavily in internet infrastructure.

LTE offers speeds of up-to 65 Mbps and can be 10 times faster than 3G, said Stern Henning, the chief commercial and customer relations officer at Econet Wireless.

The other mobile operators in Zimbabwe – Telecel and NetOne – offer 3G service in the country.

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