One of Zimbabwe’s big three internet service providers (ISPs), Utande, now has LTE internet. This is in addition to their Wimax packages, a technology they are int the process of phasing out. They are the third internet provider to introduce LTE packages after ZOL’s Wibroniks and TelOne’s Blaze.
When it comes to fixed home internet many people tend to think of either TelOne or ZOL. These two are quite popular when it comes to home internet but Utande, a subsdiary of Dandemutande is quite popular in business circles where they provide VSAT, Fibre, Wimax and now LTE. A lot of home users are also familiar with their Wimax brand which was sold as uMax. Utande also absorbed other popular internet service providers a few years back:
- They took over Aptics which was also an Internet Access Provider
- Yo!Africa a popular Wimax provider which became part of uMax
- Mweb and iWayAfrica
What LTE packages are they offering?
Now back to their LTE packages. Utande are offering three packages which are all priced in USD:
Remember me saying Utande is popular in business circles? Well, the pricing reflects that. As a home user you are free to get their product but it is mainly targeted at the business customer. The pricing is quite steep when you compare it to say Wibroniks home packages but it’s on par when it comes to ZOL’s Office packages.
|Package||Data||Price in USD/Month||Speed|
|Wibroniks Nano Office||Unlimited||$125||7 Mbps|
|Wibroniks Micro Office||Unlimited||$185||10 Mbps|
|Wibroniks Small Office||Unlimited||$295||15 Mbps|
What are their equipment prices?
Often when it comes to internet equipment prices are often the hurdle. Equipment prices can be so steep as to prevent people from getting a service and it seems Utande is aware of that. Just like with ZOL they have an alternative to upfront payment. Unlike ZOL it seems you can only rent the equipment instead of paying for it using monthly installments for a year.
|Equipment Rental Option||Equipment Purchase Option|
|Monthly rental fee of US$25||Upfront Purchase US$229|
|Installation Fee of US$75||Installation Charge US$75|
|Router Charge US$40||Router Charge US$40|
|Total US$140||Total $344|
If you choose to rent equipment you will have to pay a monthly fee of US$25 and this gets expensive fast unless you are only being asked to pay for a year which we are assuming here. That said $229 for an outdoor unit is ridiculously expensive especially since they are selling the router separately. ZOL charges US$240 for equipment including their router and installation is free! Why is Utande charging for installation? Maybe businesses will bite but this is not something we would recommend for the customer.
What’s Utande LTE’s coverage
As far as we can tell this is a Harare only affair. Those living outside Harare have to make do with their Wimax and VSAT I guess. Even in Harare, this is a High-Density and Industrial area package. With most suburbs having fibre coverage this has to be a deliberate effort to make sure that those areas that were previously covered by Wimax have an alternative. The following areas are covered.
- Ridge View
- Houghton Park
- Mainway Meadows
- Grobbie Park
Should you switch from ZOL
This is a tough one to answer if you are a business which uses Wibroniks Office. If you can afford to buy the equipment then go ahead. Utande’s speeds are likely going to be more consistent at least for the next few months and years as this seems like a premium service that home users, who often congest ZOL’s base stations, are not going to be using. Their upload speeds are also going to be probably superior. Wibroniks is kind of like ADSL, good download speeds coupled with rubbish upload speeds.
If you are a home user you are better served by staying with Wibroniks here or TelOne’s Blaze. According to our contacts at TelOne Blaze is also on the cusp of expanding and maybe introducing new packages.
Why is LTE good news?
LTE is much faster than Wimax with speeds as high as 500 Mbps depending on the specific technology in use. Wimax barely goes beyond 10 Mbps.