Econet launches 5G in Vic Falls

02 Jul, 2022 - 00:07 0 Views
Econet launches 5G in Vic Falls

The Herald

Herald Correspondent

ECONET Wireless yesterday officially launched its ultra-fast 5G network in Victoria Falls, as the listed telecommunications company expands its roll-out of the latest data network to other cities and towns across Zimbabwe.

“We are making good on our commitment to take this super-fast technology to other parts of the country as we deploy the infrastructure that will accelerate the country’s attainment of a full digital economy,” said Mr Edwin Banda, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s chief technology officer.

He was speaking at the launch event attended by Victoria Falls mayor, Councillor Somvelo Dhlamini, business leaders in tourism, Econet executives and channel partners.

Acting Hwange Colliery Company managing director, Mr Blake Mhatiwa, was the guest of honour.

Representatives of ZTE, the global telecommunications infrastructure and technology suppliers who are partners with Econet in rolling out 5G in Zimbabwe, also attended.

Econet first launched the 5G in Harare in February, in partnership with Ericsson, before deploying the technology in Bulawayo in April. The company then committed to roll out the technology to other cities and towns.

Mr Banda said the deployment of 5G would support Zimbabwe’s National Development Strategy 1 road map which, among other things, envisages an inclusive digital economy.

“We believe the deployment of 5G here and across the country will offer infinite possibilities for individual, business and industrial users, and will be a catalyst for economic growth and development in Zimbabwe,” Mr Banda said.

Econet has made significant multimillion-dollar investments in modernising its network with the aim of building a digital network that leaves no Zimbabwean behind.

Mr Mhatiwa said 5G will over time help solve ongoing challenges at Hwange Colliery Company and the entire mining industry “by helping to raise safety, reduce environmental impact and in raising overall productivity” through technology.

He said it would also help address the revenue expectations of the entire sector, in line with President Mnangagwa’s call that the mining sector should generate at least US$12 billion by next year.

“I believe new technologies such as 5G, which can deliver the high-speed connectivity to support a wide range of new applications, including machine automation, will help us to reach this important milestone,” Mr Mhatiwa said, urging Econet to speed up the 5G network roll-out in the mining towns and settlements in Zimbabwe.

The launch of 5G comes at a time the mining industry faces some complex challenges ranging from uncertainty across the geopolitical landscape, to the disruption of vital global supply chains.

“The 5G technology allows us to instantly transmit data in ways we previously could only dream of, and vastly increases the possibilities for the deployment of autonomous and remote-controlled machines,” said Mr Mhatiwa.

In Victoria Falls, Econet has installed 5G base stations at the National Railways of Zimbabwe office site, and in the city centre.

The 5G sites are part of the over 20 base stations the company deployed in Harare, Bulawayo, Chitungwiza and Gweru.

Econet’s chief sales officer Mrs Ivy Sithole said 5G, which is up to 20 times faster than 4G, will unlock the full capabilities of next generation broadband services such as virtual and augmented reality, ultra-high-definition video streaming, artificial intelligence, robotics, automated cars, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

“The 5G technology will also transform businesses and livelihoods beyond just high-speed connectivity. It will enable many industries such as manufacturing, agriculture and mining to vastly scale productivity and be more efficient,” she said.

5G, which has been described as “the nervous system of the digital economy”, will usher in new possibilities in several sectors of the economy including smart transport and logistics, e-Health, smart agriculture, smart retail and smart energy networks.

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