TelOne has exhausted the US$98 million loan facility it got from China Eximbank for the national broadband project and the firm has begun realising the fruits of the expansion drive following an increased subscriber uptake.
Although the project was initially mooted in 2010, work on the ground, however, kick-started in 2016 the aim being to improve the quality of service delivery particularly in the face of innovative mobile network providers.
The project has actually achieved better billing system, faster internet speed, improved voice call quality as well as better performance of the State-owned enterprise’s toll free and interactive voice response services.
In an interview on the sidelines of a Girls Mentorship Queen Makers graduation programme as part of the telecoms provider’s corporate social responsibility, TelOne managing director Chipo Mtasa said the US$98 million had been exhausted.
Although she couldn’t immediately provide statistics offhand, Mtasa said the firm’s services have improved tremendously due to the national broadband project and consequently was witnessing an increase in subscriber uptake.
“We have actually completed the project,” said Mtasa.
We have drawn down everything.
“You saw the President launching the Bulawayo to Beitbridge as well as Beitbridge, Masvingo to Harare optic fibre — that’s one such programme we funded with the facility.
“We have modernised the telecommunication system from its core, into the deployment in the various areas where the network is required. So it (the facility) has gone into modernising our network systems, it has gone into deploying new optic fibre systems and a new network system.
“We are seeing improvements in our operations due to this investment. In terms of subscriber growth we are seeing subscriber uptake both in voice as well as in broadband,” she said.
The fixed telecoms provider is also forging ahead with its parastatal reforms programme which, on full implementation, is expected to give TelOne a firm foothold to compete and position itself perfectly in the market.
Speaking at the commissioning of TelOne’s US$23,6 million national backbone fibre link in Beitbridge in March, President Mnangagwa said professionalism, which is the hallmark of Government’s parastatal reform agenda, will be a drawcard for reputable technical partners or suitors to partner the firm.
“The days of incomplete projects and non-payment of loans are over. TelOne (Pvt) Limited is one of the companies that my Government has put forward for partial privatisation,” said the President.