Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe’s largest mobile network operator, last week unveiled an affordable 4G enabled smartphone that is set to increase mobile internet adoption across the country.
The new 4G MIFI Kambudzi, which runs on the KaiOS operating system, can be used across all networks and is designed to allow subscribers to connect at faster speeds.
Econet said the new and affordable device was created to suit the communication needs of first-time users and of customers in rural and marginalised areas.
“No one should be left behind in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (driven by digital connectivity). We believe the new 4G MIFI Kambudzi will increase digital literacy across our entire market,” said Econet in a statement, adding that the company was targeting an increase in smartphone penetration by deploying low-cost devices.
Zimbabwe’s smartphone penetration is currently at 52%, compared to about 90% for South Africa. This has remained a barrier for the adoption of digital services which Econet hopes to scale through the low-cost device rollout.
“The introduction of the 4G MIFI Kambudzi will help increase the uptake of digital products and services, and help promote a digital lifestyles among our customers,” Econet said.
The new device, which can connect up to four devices through tethering, was designed for people who are unable to afford smartphones but have the need to go online.
It has a user-friendly interface optimized for first-time internet users. It comes preloaded with the some popular apps, such as Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp.
Econet said the new phone will go a long way in decongesting the lower bands of the network (2G and 3G) by increasing the utilisation of the LTE (4G) network in the country, which is a lot faster than the former.
Econet has made significant investments in it LTE and 4G infrastructure, making it the most reliable digital and Internet service provider in the country.
“The 4G MiFi Kambudzi has a long battery life that solves connectivity problems emanating from power shortages in under-served communities and in remote areas. Customers can enjoy Internet access for long hours without having to recharge,” Econet said.