NetOne in US $200 million equipment deal with Huawei Technologies

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Zimbabwe’s state owned weekly, The Sunday Mail says today that NetOne, a state owned mobile network operators, has signed a telecoms equipment deal for 2,000 base stations worth US $200 million with major Chinese telecommunications equipment and services company Huawei Technologies. According to the report, the equipment will enable NetOne to upgrade old equipment as well as roll out new sites.

There’s also mention by a source quoted in the article that the new equipment will “ensure NetOne will provide world-class broadband services on platforms like Long Term Evolution (LTE)”. We’re thinking this just means the equipment will allow NetOne to upgrade to LTE ( a 4G technology) more cost effectively in future and not that they are now going to be rolling out LTE base stations. We can’t imagine NetOne having any LTE rollout ambitions now when there’s so much GSM/UMTS work to be done.

The timeframe of the upgrade is not specified beyond “getting the country to meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on ICTs by year 2015”.

NetOne is one of Zimbabwe’s 4 licensed GSM mobile network operators. The other three are Econet, Telecel and TelOne. Only NetOne, Econet and Telecel are in operation with TelOne apparently still looking for a funding partner.

With about 1.6 million subscribers, NetOne is currently the smallest of the 3 mobile networks in operation. Econet and Telecel have 6.4 million and 2 million active subscribers respectively.


  1. Greg Chiponda

    can you provide more clarity on if LTE is actually a 4G standard, coz in SA companies where forced to remove the term 4G from their advertising campaigns after complaints that LTE is not a 4G standard

    1. L.S.M. Kabweza

      Generations of different technologies and the performance delivery of those technologies to match the generation are contentious. The overpromising and sometimes downright misleading marketing from providers also doesn’t help at all. I guess we’re guilty of using the term in its marketing sense.
      There’s a good technical overview of the technology here:

      1. tinm@n

        The issue of overpromising and misleading is actually global. Technologists always debate and seek proof for any claims of “true LTE”

        You were quite right to highlight the feasibility of rolling out LTE when subscribers are still to reach sizeable numbers in 3G compatible devices.

    2. Very Curious About LTE

      Its not that LTE is not a 4G standard ….its just that the specification is still being finetuned to accomodate for the theoretical speeds LTE claims to have …but what on the ground is ,we still have 3G and Wimax which are not close to 4G ,and actually ,im forced to think LTE is just a standard where networking companies will be realising NGN hardware that can accomodate high speeds at ACCESS level nothing more nothing less …just my thot

      1. Magneto

        LTE (3GPP LTE) is not 4G because it does not meet the 4G specifications set out by the ITU. It does however meet the ITU’s 3G specifications. The reason why most people would think LTE is 4G relates very much to how it was introduced on the market as opposed to WiMAX and other 3G technologies. LTE became more popular after WiMAX in the late 90’s therefore people naturally assumed it was a successor to the 3G technologies such as WiMAX when in actual effect it was developed roundabout the same time as WiMAX.

  2. David

    Skip 3G and go straight to LTE only? Why not? I don’t even know if it is possible.

    1. L.S.M. Kabweza

      Even if it were possible, how many of their subscribers have LTE smartphones or will have within the next 2 years?

  3. gango

    Cool, we want video calls in Harare now

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