Telecel, the smallest of Zimbabwe’s three mobile operators, says it plans to launch its first 4G LTE services next month, allowing it to compete with rival firms Econet Wireless and NetOne, both of which introduced 4G connectivity several years ago. State-backed Telecel is initially planning to target customers in four cities, before moving on to a wider rollout.
CEO Angeline Vere commented: ‘As part of the plan we announced in May, we have started to install LTE equipment in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare. This phase will be immediately followed by a country-wide deployment of this 4G technology.’ She added: ‘In addition to the LTE, Telecel will also be upgrading current sites as well as rolling out new 3G sites across the country.’
Telecel, which is 60% state-owned, controlled around 14% of Zimbabwe’s 13.2 million mobile users at the end of June 2017, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. After several years of subscriber losses, partly due to uncertainty surrounding its ownership and licensing issues, the government is looking to turn the business around ahead of a possible sale.