Hurrah in Harare! TelOne completes fibre link; but trumped by Econet?

8 Dec 2010

Zimbabwe’s state-run PSTN operator TelOne has completed the installation of a cross-border fibre-optic cable link to connect the country to international high speed submarine networks for the first time, reports government-backed newspaper The Herald. TelOne acting managing director Hampton Mhlanga announced that the fibre route would be commissioned soon, saying: ‘The project has been finished and we will soon officially launch it.’ The USD7 million high-capacity link connects the capital Harare to Beira in Mozambique via the eastern border city of Mutare, and will enable faster internet, telephone connections and multimedia data transmission whilst making bandwidth cheaper. Existing satellite links are expensive and have limited capacity for broadband services.

However, it seems another company is set to simultaneously break the country’s satellite dependency, as also reported yesterday, cellco Econet Wireless Zimbabwe announced that work has been completed on an international fibre extension linking its network with the SEACOM cable system landing in South Africa, on which its parent Econet Wireless Group holds dedicated capacity. Econet CEO Douglas Mboweni stated that: ‘Work on the fibre-optic network has been completed, and the network has a direct connection to the SEACOM cable in Durban, South Africa.’ CommsUpdate reported in February 2010 that Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s majority-owned subsidiary Liquid Telecom was building an international and national fibre-optic transmission network in partnership with Huawei Technologies of China. The firm indicated that most of the traffic on the network would be Econet’s initially, but that third-party traffic could account for the majority in due course.