Econet laments smartphone penetration in Zimbabwe


Zimbabwe’s largest mobile phone operator, Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed Econet Wireless, has lamented the low penetration of smart phones in the country saying 22 percent of the phones on its network trying to access data are “feature” phones with low data handling capacity.

Smart phone penetration is 52 percent compared to about 90 percent in South Africa, Econet says in its annual report for the year ending February whose publication was delayed.

It says Kenya’s penetration of mobile internet users is 80 percent.

The telecommunications regulatory authority says active internet subscriptions in Zimbabwe were 56.7 percent at the end of the second quarter, down from 59.1 percent in the first.

Econet says 90 percent of the population is covered by data-capable base stations but 70 percent of them are 3G.

4G, it says, is 10 times faster than 3 G.

Some countries have already introduced 5G which is said to be 10 times faster than 4G.

The coronavirus outbreak has increased the need for internet usage and faster internet speeds because most people are working from home.



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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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