BURUNDI’S ECONET unveils USD 10 million 3G network

(EABW)Econet Wireless, Burundi’s fastest growing network has launched Burundi’s first broadband service. This follows an investment of over $10 million in the latest 3G technology.
The 3G network is linked to the internet and outside world via fibre optic system with satellite back up to ensures reliability.The service will offer customers high speed mobile internet connectivity on mobile phones, lap tops, ipads, tablets, PC’s and other broadband compliant devices. The service will be launched in two phases, the first phase will cover the capital city Bujumbura and the second phase will cover the other key provinces

At a press conference during the launch, Econet Burundi CEO Mr. Darlington T Mandivenga said Econet Broadband was one of the most ambitious projects undertaken by the company since its launch in 2009, adding that broadband would play a pivotal role in the development of Burundi’s economy.
Burundi, a small landlocked resource poor country of over 10 million inhabitants has an internet penetration of only 1.5%, one of the lowest in the world.
“Econet as the most innovative operator is proud to launch broadband to grow internet penetration and bring Burundi at par with not only Africa but other developed nations,” said Mr. Mandivenga
According to officials at the launch, an increase of 10 mobile phone users per 100-people boosts GDP by 0.6%.
Econet customers are being offered the services in three packages. Econet is offering solutions for mobile, home and office internet use.
The “On The Go” package will be offered for customers on the move using data-capable mobile phones. In preparation for the launch, Econet has already stocked its shops with a wide range of smart phones, which have the capability to send and receive e-mails and make video calls.
With “On The Go”, Econet customers can also access the internet on their laptops from anywhere with 3G coverage, Econet Broadband’s home solution, “@HOME, offers internet access at home, allowing users to use the web for business, school and leisure. For the business user, Econet offers a high powered package known as “@WORK”.
Mr. Mandivenga added; “the possibilities are endless, Econet will work with government on e-government projects, e-health projects and other projects to transform the way we do business. Econet today is bridging the digital divide between Burundi and the world.”
“We have essentially connected Burundi to the global digital economy and  from now on, Burundi is part of the knowledge society and part of the borderless world of Facebook, of YouTube, of Twitter, of Skype, of e-commerce, e-payments, e-TV, video calling – of the world”
According to information obtained from Econet, broadband users will be accessing the internet from as low as 53-BIF per MB. In addition to affordability, Mr. Mandivenga assured the Econet Broadband users of high speeds, high mobility and high reliability of the service. Officials promised that their service is  better than any internet service currently available on the market.
Econet, the fourth licensed operator in Burundi is currently second largest but fastest growing telecommunications company a subscriber base of over 600,000 subscribers and extensive coverage in all provinces. The company has already invested over US$60 million on its existing network. The largets is Orascom owned Ucom with about 1 million subscribers. The others are the state owned Onamob, Africell, owned by VTL Holdings (going by the trade name Tempo) and Lacel SU.


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