TelOne’s Blaze LTE Explained!
TelOne Blaze LTE is a mobile telephone service being offered by TelOne. Think of it as a competitor to ZOL LTE.
It comes with a SIM card that you can use in an LTE enabled device. It can be a smartphone, tablet, portable WiFi device or an LTE modem like the ones NetOne was offering with OneFi.
How Do I Get One?
This is where things get a bit interesting. Here is what you need to have.
Proof of residence
Copy of ID
RTGS 10 for the SIM card only
But there are conditions. When I made my way to TelOne offices at Harare Main Post office, I was told that they recommend I buy the SIM card with their MiFi device. If I want the SIM alone I would be buying at my own risk. This is due to compatibility issues that I will highlight later in this article.
While I was in the queue they ran out of SIM cards and they said they’ll have them in a week. So I ran to the TelOne main exchange at 2nd and Samora. The fella there told be I can only buy it if I live in one of the zones that the service is available in. I’ll also highlight these later in the article.
After some convincing that I need it at work where the service is available I was told I cannot by the SIM alone and that I have to buy it with a MiFi device. Again compatibility issues.
I then went to TelOne offices at Showgrounds and only then was I able to get the SIM card. So depending on where you go if you want the SIM only you might go through a hard time. Same goes if the area you are in is not covered by the service. It makes sense that they want to eliminate the possibility of avoidable complaints but given the full info beforehand I would love the option to choose my fate thank you very much.
TelOne says you can buy the SIM and the MiFi routers at the TelOne offices near you.
How Much For The Modems?
The modems are going for a promotional price of RTGS 333 for the MiFi device and RTGS472 for the LTE Access point which is a whopping 3 times cheaper at the prevailing rates than buying the equipment anywhere else. 3 times. The main difference between the 2 modems is this.
It comes with a built-in battery that lasts a quoted 6 hours. It is pocket-friendly so you can move around with it in your pocket and it acts as a hotspot for up to 10 devices. Something you can use when moving about if you are in Harare.
It is bigger with some antenna and requires power from a socket. Yes this one is not mobile but it can accommodate up to 32 devices! Pretty cool for a home or office setup.
Both these devices support LTE (4G), UMTS (3G) and GSM (2G) so they can support other service providers too except for those offering CDMA. You just need to input their respective settings.
Which Areas Are Covered?
The service is currently available in select areas in Harare. These areas are ones with poor ADSL service.
These areas include a 10km radius of Avondale, Borrowdale, Ruwa, Chitungwiza, Glenview, Southerton, Kuwadzana, Harare CBD. Still pretty limited but the goal is keep people happy in areas where available fixed internet solutions were a hassle especially ADSL which was experiencing insane downtime thanks to aging equipment and cable theft.
What Devices Are Compatible With It?
TelOne is using Frequency Band 20 FDD-LTE (800) for the geeky audience like me. This means not any device with 4G LTE will be supported. Only those that have this frequency on their list of supported frequencies will work.
These devices can be LTE modems like the ones TelOne is selling, LTE capable smartphones, laptops and tablets. So if you are looking to use a custom device with this SIM that is not one of the ones offered by TelOne you will need to make sure you find out if your SPECIFIC device supports TelOne’s LTE frequency band. For smartphones and tablets you can use this link or reach out to me on my twitter handle @edwinchabuka3.
What Services Are On Offer And For How Much?
Services on offer are Voice and Data only. Yes there is no sign of SMS here. The prices for the packages are promotional at the time of publishing this article and with the Zimbabwean economy these will change very soon.
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