A new WiMAX-based network operator is aiming to launch in Zimbabwe as early as this month under the name ‘Spiritage’, writes TheAfricaReport. The start-up’s CEO Zachary Wazara claims that interconnection agreements with other operators are in the process of being finalised by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) before the company can launch a ‘mobile’ data/voice service based on ‘4G and WiMAX base stations’ following an investment of USD25 million. The 100% domestically-owned venture was issued with an Internet Access Provider (IPA) licence (‘class A’, which allows VoIP telephony) in May by POTRAZ and reportedly aims to offer mobile voice telephony and SMS in addition to broadband data services. Spiritage also claims that 500,000 people accessed its network in a pilot phase, and it now intends to launch wireless internet dongles and ‘mobile handsets which do not carry SIM cards, but are GSM compatible.’ ‘We are targeting to make broadband cheaper and easily accessible to more people,’ declared Mr Wazara.
Spiritage is the owner of Valley Technologies, the IAP class A licence holder, allowing it to build and operate public data and internet access networks, and provide VoIP services. Valley is reportedly rolling out a network in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare and Gweru, with a number of WiMAX base stations in the region of 150 or more. Other IAP licensees reportedly working on launching mobile WiMAX and VoIP services in the coming months include Aquiva, Utande (Telerix), Telco, Zellco and others. Interconnection is thought to be the main sticking point in their efforts to launch commercial voice/data networks.