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Poor connectivity knocks Zim's Vumba tourism

Poor connectivity knocks Zim's Vumba tourism

Poor mobile and internet connectivity is affecting tourism in Zimbabwe, particularly in key areas such as the Eastern Highlands.

Visitors to the Vumba Mountains switch to Mozambique networks to secure signal and local hotel operators have difficulty in processing mobile-based and bank card payments due to limited connectivity.

"There is no mobile connection here ... we have problems with connectivity here and most people opt for roaming on Mozambican networks when they are visiting," said Buluwezi Murambiwa, a guide at the Seldomseen bird sanctuary in the Vumba area.

Zimbabwe mobile networks are reachable but intermittently, and visitors to the area more often attempt to access Movitel's network.

"Welcome to Mozambique. While using Movitel you have access the largest network coverage and the best quality of internet," reads a message from Movitel as one enters the Vumba area.

It adds that the operator offers reliable internet at "3.75G at the best practices".

Takura Makadzange, director at the Forest Hills Resort told ITWeb Africa that network coverage is problematic in the area. Employees and guests at the company have to walk almost 2km to reach a point where there is improved network reception.

This has definitely impacted card-based and mobile transactions said Makadzange.

"We accept all forms of payment but it is hectic as someone has to walk all the way to the main road for both mobile money and swipe transaction payments. It is hectic," he.

The Universal Services Fund (USF) was established to enhance and support connectivity. In 2016, the government raised contributions from mobile companies into the USF from 0.5% to 1.5%.

In February 2017 ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira confirmed that the Fund would be accessed to pay a portion of the government's purchase of a majority stake in mobile operator, Telecel Zimbabwe.

The government has been at pains to enforce infrastructure sharing in the Zimbabwean mobile telecom industry to encourage operators to spread their network coverage.


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