Zimbabwe plans to auction off spectrum for LTE services in the near future in order to raise the money it needs to carry out the switchover of analogue TV signals to digital.

According to local press reports, the country needs to find US$173 million to complete the digital switchover and the mobile operators represent the best source of income.

Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe's Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, recently said the government could raise the money "right away" if it auctions "LTE spectrum to mobile operators for broadcasting," the Financial Gazette reported on Thursday.

The minister did not specify an exact timeframe, but the deadline for the completion of the TV digitisation project is June 2015.

Zimbabwe has already made some progress with LTE.

In April the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) allocated LTE spectrum to the country's mobile operators, according to the local press; there is still no information on the regulator's Website.

The news was confirmed by mobile operator NetOne, according to Bulawayo24, which noted that the telco is working with Huawei on the roll out of its network.

Meanwhile, rival operator Econet Wireless launched its first LTE service in August last year in the town of Victoria Falls, where Zambia and Zimbabwe were together hosting the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly.