What we’re up to in Zimbabwe - and a brief look at the telecoms market there
Telecom26 can provide connectivity across the whole of Africa and our team is working on some very interesting and innovative projects there. This week we’ll take a look at what’s happening on the ground in Zimbabwe.
But first some background…landlocked Zimbabwe borders Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa. It’s the 60th biggest country in the world - larger than Germany, smaller than France - with a population of 14 million people.
Former President Robert Mugabe has left a lasting economic legacy; The World Bank says that “5.7 million people now live in extreme poverty driven by economic contraction and the sharp rise in prices of food and basic commodities”.
COVID-19 has inflicted further damage on Zimbabwe’s beleaguered citizens… “Signs of a country coming unstuck are everywhere: daily shortages of electricity, fuel, basic goods, even mains water – local councils have no money to maintain aged pipes or invest in infrastructure” according to an article written by a Zimbabwean journalist for The New Humanitarian.
However, analysts at BuddeComm are more optimistic about the future of the country’s telecoms infrastructure. Although, operator revenue has “come under pressure from a number of recent regulatory measures and taxes imposed by the cash-strapped government…the sector shows some promise for coming years, particularly from the mobile segment where active mobile penetration has increased rapidly, reaching 93% by early 2019”.
BuddeComm notes that the three MNOs - Econet Wireless, NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe - continue to invest in network upgrades and expanding 3G and LTE-based mobile broadband services. And, despite being cash-strapped, the Government has started a $250 million investment programme to build 500 mobile towers in rural areas.
Telecom26 in Zimbabwe - keeping NGOs and healthcare workers connected
We have roaming agreements with all of Zimbabwe’s MNOs so are able to provide coverage across most of the country. When we need connectivity in an area that doesn’t have any network coverage, we can provide a private network which provides the same services as on any public network but it’s managed and maintained by Telecom26.
We’re working with several medical diagnostics companies to provide the always-on connectivity they need. In a nutshell, medical diagnostic equipment or diagnostic software has been installed onto the laptops and tablets of healthcare professionals who need to send test results and other information to a central remote platform in order for conditions to be diagnosed, treatment plans developed and then sent back for implementation on the ground.
Reliable connectivity is essential as speed of diagnosis and treatment is often the difference between life and death with many infectious diseases. In addition, rapid response is critical to limiting the spread of a disease using contact tracing.
The traditional route is to buy local SIMs to provide device connectivity. Unfortunately, this limits users to one MNO - and adds juggling multiple SIMs across devices to find the strongest local network to a long list of headaches.
Telecom26’s Multi-IMSI global SIM cards were developed with the specific goal of improving connectivity in remote areas. They enable devices to automatically access and switch between multiple networks both in-country and across borders thus removing the need to worry about the coverage of a single MNO, or the existence of roaming alliances. Multiple-IMSI profiles are pre-loaded on every SIM allowing for simple reconfiguration if the primary network has poor or no service.
Cross-border connectivity is of particular importance to medical teams who have been frequently frustrated at not being able to use the faster and more reliable networks of MNOs in countries just a few miles away.
As well as automatically connecting to the best-performing network in the area, Telecom26’s global SIM cards have a raft of other benefits including simplified management, single billing and the ability to pool data allowances (rather than having multiple accounts in different countries).
Thanks to Telecom26, the medical experts on the ground in Zimbabwe are now able to concentrate on what they do best: testing, sharing information for analysis elsewhere, receiving diagnosis in a timely fashion and treatment to slow down - and ultimately prevent - the spread of COVID-19, Ebola, HIV and TB.
Telecom 26 - Innovation First
We know that innovation is critical to the evolution of our industry. We want to see new ideas that extend the boundaries of mobile services and applications take off and flourish.
As a truly global mobile operator, we have a unique worldwide environment, in which new ideas are tested and evaluated, before being launched.
We offer a full range of connectivity options including 5G, LTE, WiFi, NB-IoT, private networks, 2G, 3G and 4G, as well as offshore connectivity capabilities.
So please get in touch to find out how Telecom26 can help improve connectivity for your team, wherever they are in the world.