TelOne draws down $54m on Chinese facility

TelOne has drawn down $54 million and has completed the implementation of the backbone fibre linking Zimbabwe and South Africa among a number of projects under the
$98 million China Eximbank-funded national broadband (NBB) project.

BY BUSINESS REPORTER

The NBB project is set to modernise and expand TelOne’s network. Other than completing the backbone fibre linking Zimbabwe and South Africa, the telecoms firm has also introduced a number of services such as pre-paid voice, free voice and 100% free data, company spokesperson Melody Harry said yesterday.

“This route [Bulawayo-Beitbridge backbone fibre] will see bandwidth landing costs into the country being reduced by up to 40%. An official launch event will be announced in due course,” she said.

Harry said 65 exchanges have already been migrated under the introduction of pre-paid voice.

“This migration has also seen the change of all the country’s area codes and modification of telephone numbers in some instances. This development has facilitated the introduction of faster internet, video calling and conferencing, toll free services, among other value-added services,” she said.

TelOne, Harry said, has boosted the introduction of the pre-paid voice service with the introduction of voice bundling for all clients on pre-paid voice. This has seen subscribers getting up to 450 free on-net minutes and 150 free off-net minutes over and above their data bundles on specific packages.

On 100% free data service, Harry said subscribers would get the service “depending on their usage as a way to encourage consistent recharges as well as increase uptake in the face of the increased capacity that has come out of the NBB project”.

The NBB project is set to generate more revenue for the telecom firm in the wake of dwindling voice revenue due to the emergence of over the top services such as WhatsApp. In 2016, TelOne’s revenue declined by 17% to $114 million due to a drop in voice revenue.

Voice revenue dropped to $73 million last year from $97 million in 2015.

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