Why your iPhone 5G doesn’t have a 5G option in Zimbabwe

You might have a 5G iPhone or iPad and you’re trying out the amazing 5G speeds on the Econet. If you can’t find the 5G option in Settings in Zimbabwe, you’re not alone. But do not worry. Your device is not defective. Apple hasn’t enabled the service on your phone yet.

Why 5G is not offered on Apple devices

5G is still very new in a lot of countries and it also comes in different flavors that I talked about in this video. So to make sure that the 5G provided by the service provider works well with the smartphones of the OEMs, they will work with the service provider and ensure that their devices work as designed on the MNO network.

This is not a one day process and in Apple’s case, if a particular service is not supported by the carrier or has not been tested and verified, it will be disabled at the system level for the region the carrier operates in. This way you won’t be able to see the service option no matter your device is equipped with the hardware.

At the time of writing this article, Apple has enabled these enhanced services on the Econet and 5G is not yet on the list:

  • FaceTime on mobile
  • LTE
  • Personal Contact Point

However, it appears that Apple only recognizes Econet for all Zimbabwean mobile operators. This does not mean that other sim cards will not work in Apple devices because they do. All that means is that Econet has done the groundwork to ensure its network complies with Apple’s requirements so that Apple devices can take full advantage of some of the features when running on the Econet network.

When will Econet be whitelisted?

Econet says they have been in touch with Apple, undergoing 5G testing, and providing carrier data to Apple. 5G should be enabled on 5G-enabled devices when the next major release of iOS occurs which is iOS 16. Those who are currently participating in Apple’s beta program may be able to try it out soon.

iOS 16 will most likely be announced at WWDC2022 that takes place June 6-10, 2022. We hope that this update will enable this feature for Apple users.

Are other smartphone brands affected?

According to Econet, some Samsung 5G smartphones are also being whitelisted so that 5G runs on their network. Huawei, Tecno, Xiaomi, and other 5G-enabled devices seem to run on 5G from Econet once it’s out of the box as long as the 5G frequencies the Econet runs on are supported on those devices.

Beware of smart phones in the region

Most smartphone manufacturers release smartphones that are optimized to work in certain regions and sometimes only for certain carriers. As such, they come with limited frequency bands that they support. If you decide to import or purchase a brand new or used phone, you do not need to worry that this phone does not support the bands offered by one or more of the mobile operators in Zimbabwe.

If these features are of paramount importance, you may want to buy smartphones from official stores or order them through official websites. And if you’re brave and want to buy from casual stores, try searching for the term (universal) in the box and you’ll be fine.


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