Econet secures 3G frequencies

8 Apr 2009 reports that Zimbabwe’s largest mobile network operator by subscribers, Econet Wireless, has secured 3G frequencies from the country’s regulator the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ). Douglas Mboweni, Econet’s CEO, is reported to have confirmed that his company paid for the 2100MHz frequencies, which reportedly cover the capital Harare only, last week, although an exact figure has not been made public. According to the arrangement, Econet will pay for the concession on a quarterly basis over two years.

Econet has only just begun the transition from a 2G platform: a commercial GPRS offering is expected to be launched at the end of April, with the launch of a BlackBerry service in June.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, in September 2006 Econet contracted Ericsson to roll out an UMTS network in Harare with a capacity for 50,000 users. In July 2007 the company revealed that it was technically ready to launch 3G services, but lacked the necessary spectrum allocation. Approval of its 3G launch plan from regulator POTRAZ came in July 2008, although a formal UMTS licence award was not announced.