Econet Wireless has expanded its 5G network in Zimbabwe to the southern region of Bulawayo, a move to progress the country in its ambition to activate new technologies such as AI, IoT and robotics.
Econet chief technology officer Edwin Banda noted the operator is fulfilling a need as many customers already own 5G devices, reported local newspaper The Herald.
“We have always been pioneers in this market, in the area of technology and innovation, and the fact that we are the first to launch 5G in Zimbabwe is in line with that tradition.
“Our launch of the service is a response to evolving customer needs, with so many of our customers already having 5G-compatible devices. We want to ensure they are not left behind by technology trends that are already in use in other countries, said Banda.
The executive also detailed there will be 22 5G base stations online by May 15 in the capital city of Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Gweru and Chitungwiza.
Econet first launched its 5G network in February in the capital city Harare. Banada said the 5G rollout augments its 4G network and Econet will continue with its 4G rollout. “We will continue our 4G rollout to all areas of the country to ensure we bridge the digital divide and promote accessibility of digital services to all populated areas of our nation,” he said.
Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) director-general Gift Machengete said the watchdog is keeping a close eye on 5G rollouts as they could “foster industrial and societal transformations” as Zimbabwe aspires to become an upper-middle-income economy by 2030, he said.
He earmarked two key technologies, “network softwartisation and network virtualisation”, to lay the ground for the creation of new value chains and the development of new services and apps across all industries.