Zimbabwe: Africom Ploughs U.S.$30 Million in New Technology


Zimbabwean ISP, Africom on Friday unveiled its mobile broadband platform after investing US$30 million into the project in a development that would improve the country's mobile penetration.
The development follows the deregulation of the telecommunications sector last year after the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) said licenced operators with the infrastructure can do both data and voice in a bid to improve the country's teledensity
It will compete with mobile players, Econet, Net One and Telecel who have of late been struggling to offer quality service to subscribers. Kwanayi Kashangura, Africom Founder and Chief Executive Officer told Standardbusiness the company is not competing directly with mobile operators but "we are enhancing the service".
Kashangura said mobile operators were offering other services which Africom had and the converged licence meant that it could now participate in voice, data, internet and other services. "Mobile operators are now offering internet services on their platforms and we said we need to offer a full bouquet of communication services," the Africom founder said.
With its existing infrastructure, there is a capacity of three million subscribers. He said the services had been tested for over two months, he said. Nelson Chamisa, Information and Communication Technology Minister said government stands for competition of various service providers "and our duty is to provide an enabling environment so that there is improvement in the quality of service.
"In government we say seek ye first the kingdom of connectivity and the rest will follow in communication," he said. He said government's vision was that before the end of the year people "must be connected". Government has identified ICTs as the fuel for economic growth. In the 2010 national budget Finance Minister Tendai Biti allocated US$5 million through the Vote of Credit aimed at establishing a fibre optic link between Harare and Mutare and Harare to Beitbridge.