Zimbabwe’s largest cellco by subscribers Econet Wireless has officially launched mobile broadband services covering major cities, based on W-CDMA/HSPA and WiMAX technologies, linked by a high speed fibre-optic backbone, following an investment of USD100 million. Econet commercially launched 3G mobile services in the capital Harare on 1 September 2009, but under-capacity on the UMTS network resulted in the operator suspending new user registrations after only a month of launching. Meanwhile Econet’s subsidiary Ecoweb launched a commercial mobile WiMAX network of 100 base stations covering Harare, Bulawayo and eleven other towns in late April 2010. Following the relaunch of wireless broadband services, Econet is offering three packages: ‘On The Go’ which offers 3G mobile data services for mobile handset and laptop users (with data coverage augmented by a 2.5G GPRS network); ‘@WORK’ for businesses using fixed internet services; and ‘@HOME’ for residential fixed broadband users with light data volume requirements. Econet also announced it had stocked its retail outlets with a wide range of smartphones with the capability to send and receive e-mails and make 3G video calls, whilst it has also installed extra satellite transmission facilities as backup capacity.
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