The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Econet Launches 4G

ECONET Wireless has become the first local mobile phone operator to introduce fourth generation (4G) service, a high-speed mobile telephone technology that will result in faster data transmission speeds and call connectivity.Zimbabwe's biggest mobile telecoms company said its Long Term Evolution (4G) technology will go live this weekend in Victoria Falls ahead of the start of the 20th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly.

Econet Wireless chief executive Mr Douglas Mboweni said the company was riding on its expansive infrastructure nationwide to roll out a host of overlay services based on customers' demands for more value added services.

"This 4G Long Term Evolution service that we are bringing to our customers or the market is basically in response to our customers to say they need speed in terms of the way transactions happen," Mr Mboweni said.

He said this came after Econet first afforded its customers the opportunity to access a number of overlay services. The customers have become more demanding, compelling the firm to introduce more value added services.

"We will not stop here to admire our handiwork. We will continue to move forward and certainly LTE (4G) service is basically a point in this journey, which we call a journey without a specific destination," said the Econet boss.

Fourth generation technology means customers will be able to surf the net, send and receive e-mails, upload and download from the internet and make calls at speeds much faster than they have ever been able to in the past.

Mr Mboweni said customers have continuously been asking for overlay services that give them more access to financial, health and agriculture services while they sit in the comfort of their homes, even in the most remote areas.

The LTE technology will first be accessible by way of dongles bought from Econet and initially at specific locations that include Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls international airports and major hotels in the country among others.

The service will also be available in the central business districts of Harare, Bulawayo and UNWTO General Assembly host town of Victoria Falls.

Mr Mboweni would not reveal when the service will be rolled out to the rest of the country, but the company would target high traffic areas first.

Zimbabwe's second biggest mobile phone company becomes only the seventh such network operator on the continent to roll out the latest fast speed and connectivity technology.

Econent Wireless chief commercial and customer services officer Mr Stanley Henning said 4G would bring customers faster internet connectivity and data transmission that is 10 times better than current speeds.

"Next is 4G after 3G; it is all about speed; speed of access, download and upload in a blink. As such, 4G will bring customers that necessary speed."

For data transmission purposes, Mr Henning said, 4G will give mobile phone customers lightening fast speeds of up to 65 mega bits per second.

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