TelOne launches cheaper Ka-band VSAT option for outlying areas

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar


We’ve just learned that TelOne has launched a cheaper VSAT option that uses the Ka-Band satellite technology. This new service will be sold under a new TelOne VSAT brand effectively doing away with SatNet brand which we’re told has been decommissioned.

The new Ka-band will see equipment and setup prices come down from about $8,000 (yes C-band apparently is THAT expensive to setup) to about half a thousand dollars we’re told. Monthly subscriptions will also come down from about $500 a month to just about the same or a little over current Telone ADSL pricing we’re told. A TelOne representative we spoke to said the pricing is yet to be finalised though.

Ka-band is cheaper than C-band because smaller end-user antennas and is much easier to set up. The easy setup also means increased mobility.

Ka-band itself is ofcourse not new locally. We first wrote about this new VSAT option about a year ago when Stargaze announced it had brought cheaper VSAT to Zimbabwe. Then Stargaze told us installation price was $1,000 and their website shows subscriptions start at $60 for 3GB. From what we’ve been told, so far it’s looking like TelOne’s Ka-band VSAT will be priced lower.

In fact TelOne and Stargaze have the same upstream provider – Avanti Communications – and both use Avanti’s HYLAS 2 satellite. The official announcement from TelOne says they recently signed a contract with Avanti.

TelOne’s VSAT option means organisations and individuals in outlying areas where fibre, ADSL and WiMax are out of reach, VSAT is now a reasonable option. A represenative of the company says they are targeting schools, small mines, holiday destinations, prospecting and mobile teams and also residential and small/home offices.

You can read the company’s full release here.

image credit: Avanti Communications


  1. africhoice

    A good step in breaking down the digital divide in Zimbabwe. Internet connectivity is an essential service and its good if Telone strives to give the service to the people at cheaper and affordable rates. I dream of an era where Telone can really show what it means to be a state-owned company as it protects consumers from being exploited by private enterprises by offering them quality, cheaper and better alternatives.

  2. Robert Ndlovu

    A good move by Telone.This is a game changer because someone was thinking they could own every air wave and ground wave for connectivity.Way to go Telone.I hope you have enough trained peoples to do these installs and a well organized NOC to support remote users.

  3. Loyd Kambuzuma

    You can also get cheap fiber optic internet from Telco or Liquid because inevitably fiber will dominate enterprise networks, just as it does in today’s networks.

    1. L Makombe

      In all fairness, who is going to lay fibre all the way to Kanyemba border post or Mashumbi pools. Ka band is the solution to areas where fibre and copper connectivity is not profitable. It is easy to deploy and needs very minimum maintenance. Well done TelOne, wake up sleeping giant.

  4. Anthony Somerset

    VSAT is only going to be affordable where fibre can’t get to in any reasonable manner – why aren’t we hearing about TelOne’s fibre rollout? assuming they have one of course.

    I’m quite surprised telone is sticking with such limited technologies in terms of future capacity, its great that the cost of this service is coming down but surely the number of people “needing” vsat is far far far lower compared to the number within range of more conventional internet

    1. L Makombe

      TelOne has been laying fibre all the time, Harare – Mutare, Harare – Bulawayo and very soon watch this space, TelOne will covered the whole country. The Ka band service although VSAT is affordable to everyone just as DSTV is affordable to most Zimbabwe. This is fact. If you are in the telecoms industry, you may be aware that VSAT has various bands, C (very expensive and for corporates), Ku (also a bit expensive and for corporate, small to medium enterprises) and the Ku (takes all, everyone on board). Ku is ideal for all your remotest parts of the country and also the urban areas whether there is not fibre or copper.