HomeBusinessTelOne still to get $98m China loan

TelOne still to get $98m China loan

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LOCAL mobile phone operator TelOne says it is yet to receive the $98 million loan which government signed for last September.

VICTORIA MTOMBA
Business Reporter

TelOne spokesperson Melody Mbira Harry told NewsDay that discussions over the loan deal were still ongoing.

“The discussions on the loan are still on-going and we are looking forward to their conclusion soon,” she said.

The deal was initiated by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa following negotiations with executives from China Eximbank to extend a $98 million loan for the expansion of TelOne’sfibre optic infrastructure.

Treasury last year assumed a $360 million legacy debt that was on TelOne’s balance sheet to enable the parastatals to access fresh capital.

Harry said TelOne had spent $100 000 on installation of alarms on cables and infrastructure currently being set up countrywide.

“The project is nationwide and the project started with all the major routes. The system is also complemented with a whistleblower system which has assisted in investigating cases of cable theft,” she said.

Harry said the move to install alarms on the parastatal’s infrastructure was to secure the infrastructure against vandalism and improve service delivery.

Meanwhile, TelOne has embarked on a reduction of its Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) tariffs to make them affordable and competitive.

“We have also increased download speeds on all our packages from 1 Mbps to 4 Mbps. The speed for the basic package is now 1 Mbps up from 256kbps. The increase in download speeds is meant to ensure continuous improvement in service quality and client experience. Our objective remains to provide fast, affordable and reliable Internet service,” she said.

The parastatal has been struggling to recover money owed by customers due to the harsh economic environment.

As of last, year TelOne was owed $150 million by customers and has been running campaigns to give customers an opportunity to come up with repayment plans.

The information communication and technology sector is expected to register a positive growth of 6,4% in 2015. Fixed telephone subscribers increased by 4,2% to 326 576 subscribers in 2014 from 313 372 subscribers in 2013.

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