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Powertel Communications to launch mobile service

By Alfonce Mbizwo, Harare, Zimbabwe

Powertel Communications, a subsidiary of the state-owned national power company, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), will launch a mobile network at the end of this month, an official said at the weekend.

“We received our license from Potraz (the regulatory authority) and we will be launching the service on our network by end of August,” a marketing executive told Biztechafrica.

“We have been putting up our base stations throughout the country and testing them, so by end of the month it will be all systems go,” he said.

Powertel is an ICT solutions provider and is licensed Internet Access Provider in Zimbabwe. It boasts over 1000 kilometres of optical fibre cable in operation countrywide. It also offers 3G broadband wireless internet access.

The executive said Powertel plans to penetrate the market largely dominated by Econet, Telecel and state-owned NetOne by opening dealerships across all major towns where its service will be available.

PowerTel’s move mirrors those by Africom and Brodacom, who launched similar services in June and July. All three operators are IAPs and used their licenses to implement CDMA services, including mobile voice.

While traditional networks’ charges fluctuate between US 20-30 cents per minute, Powertel’s charges will mirror those of recent entrants, Brodacom and Africom with on-net calls charged at US 6 cents per minute (including VAT) while calls to other networks are priced at US 12 cents per minute.

Last month, PowerTel sales and marketing manager, Willard Nyagwande said the commercialisation of interconnection agreements with other mobile operators will be done this month ahead of the network’s launch.

Powertel also plans to start providing web hosting services in the coming months.

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