Malawi subscribers test new 3.75G
MALAWI| 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
€26.6m Africa-EU internet project to transform African science and educationAfrican research and education network associations the UbuntuNet Alliance, ASREN and WACREN have partnered with their European counterpart GÉANT in a €26.6m EU co-funded project to provide dedicated high-speed internet all over Africa. Read More
Nissan parades ‘ICT built’ brand in MalawiNissan has paraded its brand new 2015 y62 Patrol Ti series in Malawi, which is said to have taken advantage of ongoing ICT innovations and features built-in navigation and digital entertainment. Read More
Malawi’s ICT sector reorganisedThe Malawi Government is taking a new, collaborative approach to create order in the country’s ICT sector. Read More
TNM opens up free Twitter accessTelekom Networks Malawi (TNM) is pleased to announced the launch of Smart Free Twitter promotion to offer customers unlimited access to enjoy the Smart Data product. Read More
More Gilat Satcom POPs optimised for IPv6Gilat Satcom has announced that its POPs in Malawi, Zambia and the UK have been optimised to receive and transmit traffic from IPv6 addresses. Read More
Malawi Government levies tax on Internet/SMSThe Malawi Government has announced that it will levy a 10 percent excise duty on mobile phone text messaging as well as all data transfers, including internet and similar services. Read More
Internet.org now available to TNM, Airtel Malawi subscribersFacebook has launched Internet.org in Malawi, giving people on the TNM and Airtel Malawi networks access to free basic internet services. Read More
TNM launches solar BTSTNM is moving to solar power for some of its base transmitter stations (BTSs) due to frequent power blackouts. Read More
MACRA moves to give another mobile licenceMalawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has taken the first steps towards awarding a mobile telecommunication service provider licence to Lacell Private Limited. Read More
FEATURED STORYFinancial services sees AI as both opportunity and threat
Banking is already a key area where technology is having an impact throughout Africa, and a new survey assesses the impact artificial intelligence will have on this sector.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAccess and Use of ICT stats released
Statistics Botswana has released the first results of the 2014 Information and Communication Technology Household Survey.