3G ‘on its way’ – but who can afford it?

21 May 2008

Commercial 3G mobile services will ‘soon’ be launched, once legal requirements have been met, according to Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ). The technical and logistical requirements for launching W-CDMA networks were reportedly met some time ago, with leading operator Econet selecting around 2,000 high-end users for a trial of next-generation services last year. Acting director general of POTRAZ, Charles Sibanda, told Herald Business on Monday that finalising UMTS regulations and licences was taking much longer than expected, but added that the regulator was working on amending the existing legal framework, although he was unable to estimate a 3G launch date, saying only that it would be ‘anytime soon’. Meanwhile, AllAfrica.com reports that all three GSM operators in the hyperinflation-hit country – Econet, NetOne and Telecel – have applied for new tariff increases only a month after their most recently approved 1,000% price hike, giving the reason that they need to reduce network congestion.