The African Cyber Cafe of the Future is Here Today

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If you were to think about what Internet cafes might look like in 5 years, I bet you might imagine something like the photo above. A clean, modern cyber cafe run by a mobile phone provider as a way to showcase broadband Internet and data services in addition to traditional handset and airtime sales.
This future is here now in Harare, Zimbabwe. I saw it with my own eyes at the Econet Wireless' new Internet cafe in Harare, Zimbabwe. It is a beautiful temple of technology that rightly had TechZim scared about Econet's intentions:
Initially we were worried that Econet is getting into the Internet cafe business and will be opening several of these around. They’re not. At least the Econet staff we spoke to about it say so. According to them, the cyber cafe is just meant to showcase a world class cafe experience and also provide a means for Econet to sell its mobile devices and assist customers having problems configuring their mobile phones for mobile broadband.
Econet may not be getting into the cyber cafe business, but I am willing to bet that other mobile providers will, if only to showcase and sell more Internet data services to Facebook addicted customers. Traditional Internet cafe owners, it is true: mobile providers are pushing you out of business.

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