TelOne seeks US$250m to transform operations

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

TelOne seeks US$250m to transform operations 
Mr Lawrence Nkala

Africa Moyo in BULAWAYO

TelOne (Private) Limited has developed a technology roadmap that requires US$250 million to position the company as a modern communications solutions provider, CEO Mr Lawrence Nkala has said.

He was addressing journalists in Harare yesterday at the start of a two-day engagement that will end in Bulawayo today.

The media engagement is aimed at familiarising the media with TelOne’s operations, which have evolved over the years from being a fixed phone operator to a telecommunications solutions provider.

Mr Nkala said TelOne is pursuing a fixed-mobile convergence as its business model, anchored on its recently renewed licence that permits the company to pursue mobile technology to augment its current technological offering.

“The company realises that growing the business using new technologies will require significant investment and has developed a technology roadmap, which requires US$250 million, in order to position the company as a modern communications solutions provider,” he said.

Presently, the company is choked by legacy debts of US$390 million as of January this year, infrastructure vandalism, bad debtors and an unsustainable tariff.

TelOne is owned by the Government through the Mutapa Investment Fund.

In the absence of capital injection from the shareholder as well as other financiers, TelOne has been making steady progress through internally generated funds, managing to generate and invest an average of US$10 million annually in the last three years, said Mr Nkala.

Some of the progress made include the deployment of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge and Harare-Bulawayo-Beitbridge backbone fibre, which ensured improved bandwidth capacity coming into the country at a lower cost, in the process enhancing TelOne’s resilience and its capacity as the career of careers.

After the presentation by Mr Nkala, journalists were taken to Msasa, Harare, where the Zimbabwe Information Technology Company (ZITCO), is assembling computers.

The company is a joint venture between Government entities and a Chinese firm.

While it is doing a great job, it is also affected by inadequate funding and is not operating at full capacity.

Young women constitute the larger number of employees at ZITCO, in line with the Second Republic’s philosophy of leaving no one and no place behind.

From there, journalists were taken to TelOne’s client self-service centre in Highlands, before touring the Data Centre in town.

Today, the journalists will be in Bulawayo to familiarise with more of TelOne’s assets.