3.4 Zimbabwe Telecommunications

The communications system in Zimbabwe was once one of the best in Africa, but now suffers from poor maintenance; more than 100,000 outstanding requests for connection despite an equally large number of installed but unused main lines domestic: consists of microwave radio relay links, open-wire lines, radiotelephone  communication stations, fixed wireless local loop installations, and a substantial mobile-cellular network; Internet connection is available in Harare and planned for all major towns and for some of the smaller ones.

Below are major highlights from 2014:

  • Total number of active mobile subscribers is 11.4 million.
  • Total number of active fixed telephone subscriptions is 340,852 subscribers
  • Internet penetration rate reached 47.5%
  • Total number of base stations (2G,3G & LTE) is currently 4,603 base stations.
  • Available International internet bandwidth capacity reached 21,840Mbps
  • International: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat; 2 international digital gateway exchanges (in Harare and Gweru)
  • Growth of mobile transfer services(i.e Econet-EcoCash,Telecel-TeleCash,NetOne-One Wallet) has reached 4.9 million subscribers and 20,569 agents facilitating deposits amounting to $403,149,620 in the 3rd quarter of 2014
  • Whatsapp mobile application has now become a popular platform for communication not only nationally but internationally connecting people globally through their messenger service that utilises data consumption.

Cell phones in Zimbabwe have overtaken land phones as many cellular phones now provide Internet access and cell phone computers. SMS, MMS and broadband are becoming standard features on cell phones. Shopping for cell phone deals, the best broadband and cell phone service will save you money and help increase your productivity.

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is Zimbabwe's largest provider of telecommunications services enjoying a 56.8% market share in mobile subscriptions, followed by NetOne and Telecel with 23.7% and 19.5% respectively. These companies provide solutions in mobile and fixed wireless telephony, public payphones, internet access and payment solutions. 

For more information on telecoms contacts, please see the following link: 4.9 Additional Services Contact List 


Telephone Services

Is there an existing landline telephone network?


Does it allow international calls?


Mobile phone providers (List)

Econet, Telecel, NetOne

Estimated availability and coverage

(Approximate percentage of national coverage)


Telephone services

Is there a landline telephone network?


Does it allow reliable international calls?


The information gateway is limited to Tel-One, (and Econet by default), the Government can manage communications in a time of crisis. International calls are possible but are not reliable.

On average length of downtime periods for landline connections

From 12hrs to 6 weeks

Is there a mobile phone network?



Most popular network – operating in major cities, centres and arterial routes. Econet Wireless Zimbabwe says that it has concluded agreements with ZTE and Ericsson to supply and install equipment valued at over US$170 million for the expansion of its network from the current subscriber capacity of 4 million to just over 5.5 million. The work to be undertaken by the two companies and their subcontractors include the expansion of the GSM network, which is already GPRS enabled, as well as the separate installation of a national 3G network for all of Zimbabwe's major cities and tourist resorts. Currently, 3G is only available in parts of the capital Harare. Econet currently has just over 4 million subscribers and plans to exceed the level before the end of December. Investment by Econet during this year has enabled Zimbabwe to take its penetration rate from less than 10%, just a few months ago, to over 30% before the end of 2011. As a listed company, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is the largest Zimbabwean company by market capitalisation, and remains the single largest investor in Zimbabwe.



Net*One is the third largest cellular company in Zimbabwe and has over 900,000 subscribers. It provides coverage to all major towns and cities, all small towns, and tourist resorts. Net*One is affiliated with service providers Firstel Cellular and Zellco Cellular in phone sales, telephone cards and billing. The company offers a wide range of services including vehicle tracking and vehicle monitoring using global positioning satellite technology, throughout Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries. It offers equipment registration and SOS services. It also offers internet and data services.



Telecel is the second largest cellular company in Zimbabwe and has over 1700,000 subscribers. It provides coverage to all major towns and cities, all small towns, and tourist resorts. It also offers internet and data services



Dial One a brand of Tel One offers the largest landline network in Zimbabwe that provides telecommunications to:

  • Small and Large corporate enterprises
  • Educational Institutions
  • Research Organisations
  • Multi Nationals
  • Government and NGO’s
  • Embassies and Foreign governments
  • Individuals

Dial One provides exciting and innovative services ranging from advanced functions such as prepaid phone cards, speed dialling and conference calling to toll free service.


Internet Services Include:

Information Transfer includes:


  • Leased line internet service
  • Dial Up internet service
  • Domain registration
  • Domain hosting
  • Internet Consultancy
  • ISDN
  • ADSL
  • ATM
  • Managed Data Network


Procedure to obtain subscription

Land lines require a detailed procedure: Vigorous background credit checks, id documentation, proof of residence and guarantor for Landline

Telecommunication Regulation

Four separate pieces of legislation have a bearing on the regulatory environment for the Information and Communications Technology industry in Zimbabwe. These are the Postal and Telecommunications Act of 2000, the Broadcasting Services Act of 2001, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act of 2002, and the Interception of Communications Act of 2007. At the present time, regulation of the ICT sector is divided between the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), the Postal and Telecommunications Authority (POTRAZ) and the Media and Information Commission (MIC). POTRAZ is accountable to the Minister of Transport and Communications, while BAZ and the MIC report to the Minister of Media, Information, and Publicity. (Infrastructure and Growth in Zimbabwe)

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) is the industry regulator for telecommunications bearing responsibility for Economics(related to telecommunications), tariffs, competition, technical services and postal & courier services. POTRAZ has given mobile operators the go-ahead to offer additional services based on 3G and VoIP technology under their current licences, reports local news source Business Chronicle. In a statement, POTRAZ said it was amending the concessions of the operators so that they could begin offering new services to their customers. In an interview with the Chronicle, POTRAZ spokesperson Tawungana Ndoro said operators were still required to submit applications to the regulator to increase the scope of the services that they provided.

Zimbabwe has three licensed GSM network operators, Econet Wireless, NetOne and Telecel; the largest by subscriber base, Econet, has already begun deploying 3G W-CDMA technology.

Regulations on Usage and Import

Regulations on usage or import of:

Yes / No

Regulating Authority




HF Radio



UHF/VHF/HF radio: handheld, base and mobile



UHF/VHF repeaters





 Consumer based use is not regulated but military use is.




Individual Network Operator Licenses Required

Not restricted for personal and business use. Industrial Equipment  will have to be certified  and licensed by POTRAZ

Existing Humanitarian Telecoms Systems

Satellite Phones do not need frequencies as they use Sim cards. All the UN Agencies use the same frequencies or both HF and VHF. Voice over IP (VoIP) is a service of Vsat and therefore limited to WFP globally. VSAT/Satellite phones cannot be shut down and govt acknowledges their presence but they are illegal beyond the diplomatic requirements.

Existing UN Telecommunication Systems


WFP/UN Agencies

VHF frequencies

158.325, 151.825, 155.875, 154.975, 162.875, 153.325, 156.825, 162.875



HF frequencies



Ch6 6849 Ch11 9004 Ch16   Ch21 5815



Ch7 6858 Ch12 1405 Ch17 3335 Ch22 7715



Ch8 7700 Ch13 14554 Ch18 3510 Ch23 7720



Ch9 7743 Ch14 18225 Ch19 3530    



Ch10 8150 Ch15 23690 Ch20 5225    



 6xGR500 Motorola


 5 x VSAT Stations

Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

Zimbabwe is connected to the undersea global fibre-optic backbone through 4 different links and consequently most major towns are now able to access high speed internet connectivity. There are at least 2 major private and just as many parastatal fibre optic internet providers.  Several more provide internet access through a combination of different technologies while riding on the major providers for international uplinks. Most major businesses are connected to the internet using broadband fibre optic links in the office and also offer their staff mobile internet through the 3/4G cellular network which offers reasonable coverage in major cities. Cellular data rates though often quite high have a tendency to fluctuate unpredictably.

Internet connectivity is stable in major cities where service providers ensure the availability of backup power solutions, however, smaller locations are affected by load shedding and will often lose connectivity for the duration of the power outage.

Internet Service Providers

Are there ISPs available?

(Yes / No)


Private or Government


Dial-up only (Yes / No)


Approximate Rates





Max leasable ‘dedicated’ bandwidth

 10MB (Theoretical)

Internet Services Providers

Larges ISP companies are:

Yo-Africa, Zimbabwe on Line, Mweb, Uthandi, Telone, Zim, Zimbiz.net

Are there IAPs available?


Main Providers

Yo-Africa, Zimbabwe on Line, Mweb, Uthandi, Telone, Zim, Zimbiz.net

Type available

WIMAX  dial-up  ADSL  GPRS 


Maximum leasable ‘dedicated’ bandwidth

Unlimited, dependant on own budget

Estimated availability and coverage

Major towns and cities,  ADSL quality still regarded as poor

Procedure to obtain subscription

For ADSL only (Telone facility), credit checks, Vetting and guarantor required. Other last mile solutions- straight forward

Internet country code: .zw

Internet hosts:  29,094 (2009) (country comparison to the world: 91)

Internet users:  1.421 million (2008) (country comparison to the world: 78)

For current telecom info visit POTRAZ Website.

For more information on telecommunications in Zimbabwe, please see the following attachment: Additional Zimbabwe Telecommunications Information


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