Malawi subscribers test new 3.75G
MALAWIBy BiztechAfrica - July 23, 2012, 11:17 a.m.
By Gregory Gondwe, Blantyre, Malawi
Mobile phone users in Blantyre, Malawi, have expressed satisfaction with the newly launched 3.75G network launched last week by Airtel Malawi. However, they have expressed concern that the service will downgrade over time.
Airtel hailed it as the fastest mobile browsing with the widest coverage in Malawi.
Airtel Malawi officials said this is an upgrade from the current 3G data service to a 3.75G network - a third generation mobile network which offers faster information transfer.
Stuart Palika, a teller with one of the commercial banks in Blantyre's Central Business District, says he is hesitant to express his full satisfaction with the service.
"These service providers always bring such incentives, which only work wonders for the first few months before starting misbehaving," he said.
Palika says when Airtel and TNM introduced 3G for example, at first internet was fast and it was such a joyous experience to browse.
"A few months later, things were not the same and both service providers gave a lot of excuses," he said.
At the launch of the 3.75G network infrastructure in Blantyre last week, the Minister of Information, Moses Kunkuyu said the upgrade as a revolution to mobile internet users as they will now access information on their handsets and other mobile devices even faster than before.
"The issues of internet are no longer a luxury, but rather a necessity because it is proving to be a focal point of any aspect of development in the world hence the need to make it easily accessible through such latest technologies which improve internet speeds even in Malawi," he said.
At the event Airtel announced that it is extending its 3.75G services to other districts in Malawi other than just concentrating in the main cities.
At the moment the company says Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Mangochi, Karonga, Kasungu, Salima, Zomba and Kasungu are the areas with 3.75G coverage.
"The upgrade to 3.75G means Airtel will now provide the fastest data speeds in the country. Airtel will offer maximum internet speeds of up to 21Mbps (megabits per second) from the current maximum of 7.2Mbps, The improved technology will allow users to make video calls, fast download of movies and music, watch live streaming of events, fast uploads and downloads of information, fast access to social media pages and mails from their mobile devices," explained Airtel Malawi's managing director, Saulos Chilima.
Airtel has invested USD5.2m to upgrade its network infrastructure to 3.75G.
The company's 3.75 G network upgrade comes just a few months after Airtel Malawi was awarded the Best Mobile Data Operator accolade in Southern and East Africa in December 2011 by the African Telecom People.
However, subscribers say Airtel should stop honking its horn too much and start maintaining quality services.
"What they preach and what they do at their business centres must be the same," complained journalist Chiyangazo Phinda at the ceremony.
She said she has had problems with Airtel Blackberry services and even her efforts to seek assistance at their Nico Centre premises paid no dividends.
"The system keeps removing my airtime from my account even when the previous subscription is still running," she said.
Phinda says if the company is failing on these small areas then they should do better with the 3.75G network platform.
"I understand this is more sophisticated," she said.
MORE MALAWI NEWS
Malawi launches Internet Governance ForumThe Malawi Government and Nepad have launched the Malawi Internet Governance Forum in an effort to bring a semblance of order to the internet services in the country. Read More
Samsung volunteers build homes in MalawiA team of 28 Samsung volunteers rolled up their sleeves to construct three homes, a computer lab and a solar-powered cinema for the village in the area of Traditional Authority Tsabango in Lilongwe District, Malawi. Read More
Malawi to run 1st online recruitment siteMalawi has launched an online recruitment site, ‘Myjobo.com’, providing free job ads and job searching. Read More
TNM dishes out K2.5m in Independence promotionPremier mobile telecom operator TNM has dished out K2.5m worth of Mpamba value during the first draw of its commemorative promotion as Malawi celebrates 50 years of self rule. Read More
Standard Bank partners GOtvStandard Bank Malawi customers now have the opportunity to pay for terrestrial television channel GOtv using flexible monthly installments following the launch of a partnership with the television service provider. Read More
TNM partners Lake of Stars FestivalMalawi’s premier mobile network provider TNM has been unveiled as the official mobile telecommunications service provider at the 11th edition of Lake of Stars Festival in September this year. Read More
Nurse wins Airtel’s K1m PrizeA male nurse working at Dzaleka Refugee Camp Health Centre in the central region district of Dowa has emerged the 12th winner of K1m in the on-going Airtel Malawi Tisangalale 50 promotion. Read More
Insurance services go mobile in MalawiMalawi’s Nico General Insurance Company Limited has disclosed that in the next four months it will be bringing to the market mobile phone services. Read More
TNM equips youth NGO with ICT equipmentMobile phone service provider TNM has donated set of computers worth K2.1 million to Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) to be used in its help line call centre. Read More
FEATURED STORYWidening ICT skills gap: Cause for concern
Nigeria's FDI gains could be eroded by the widening gap in indigenous skilled ICT manpower, writes Kokumo Goodie.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHKenya rolls out e-extension to improve agriculture
In a bid to curb the overwhelmed number of agricultural extension officers in Kenya, the ministry of agriculture is embracing technology with their introduction of E-Extension services, which are aimed at reaching out to over 7 million farmers annually.