BY MISHMA CHAKANYUKA
ZIMBABWE plans to leverage its close relationship with China as it seeks to develop and introduce 5G technology, Information and Communications Technology minister Kazembe Kazembe has said.
Mobile networks in the southern African country are currently working on 3G and 4G. The fifth generation network (5G) boasts data speeds of up to 2,7 gigabytes per second — dozens of time faster than existing services, enabling warp-speed transmission of high-definition content, without latency.
China is among some of the few countries like the United States, Japan, South Korea and Sweden which have adapted 5G technologies.
“China has been Zimbabwe’s all-weather friend for a long time and this benefits both countries. There are a number of projects that China is helping us on. There are a couple of more projects on board that are likely to start very soon,” he said.
“There have been developments in ICT in China as they have recently launched 5G.We are hoping to benefit from that innovation,” Kazembe said.
Following years of international isolation, Harare turned to Beijing and the Asian giant has proved to be a strategic ally.
China has doled out millions in opaque loans to Zimbabwe in exchange for unchecked access to the southern African country’s vast mineral deposits, which include gold, chrome, platinum and diamonds.
On the ICT front, China has funded the upgrade of State-run fixed line operator TelOne’s broadband network through a $98 million loan facility from China’s Exim Bank.
China Exim Bank has also advanced a $71 million loan to State-owned mobile network operator, NetOne, so that it expands its network in rural areas.