STATE-OWNED telecoms operator, TelOne says it is losing a lot of revenue due to network disruptions through vandalism of its fibre network across the country.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
TelOne managing director, Chipo Mtasa told NewsDay last week that vandalism of its infrastructure was rife particularly in Mashonaland provinces.
“In terms of value, I might not have the exact dollar value, but we are losing a lot in terms of network disruptions and it’s very inconvenient to us,” she said at a tour of the company’s projects in Umzingwane and Gwanda districts last week by Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services minister, Supa Mandiwanzira.
“Unfortunately, there is a misunderstanding that there is value in fibre and when people vandalise our fibre network, they only find out fibre has no value other than for communication purposes. So they then just leave it. So it’s very unfortunate. It then means that we need to escalate our publicity campaigns around vandalism so that we stop it.”
TelOne last year embarked on a national broadband project in which it is targeting to increase broadband contribution to 48% of its total revenue by 2020, up from the current 20%.
This came as telecom firms have seen a drop in revenue due to the rise in over-the-top services like WhatsApp and Viber, which have resulted in a decline in voice calls.
On Thursday, Mandiwanzira, his permanent secretary, Sam Kundishora, top ministry officials and company executives conducted a tour of the fibre project along the Bulawayo-Beitbridge road, where contractors were busy at work.
The minister was also shown state-of-the-art equipment at upgraded exchange units in Esigodini and Gwanda.
Through this project, TelOne sees voice revenue contributing 43% to total revenue from 66%. TelOne will also bring in new product lines such as cloud services and value-added services, as the business model transforms to converged information and communications technology (ICT) services.
So far, it has drawn down $33 million from the China Exim Bank’s $98 million facility.
Project implementation, which is expected to run for two years, would now see the TelOne being able to transition to a wider fibre broadband network platform, which would reverse the negative revenue trend and drive profits to $17 million by 2020.