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Govt sets targets for TelOne

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BY KUDZAI KAWAZA
GOVERNMENT has directed its telecoms firm TelOne to increase its share of the sector’s revenue to 25% under a plan that will see the analogue telco compete at the same level with its mobile network peers.

The country’s telecoms sector is dominated by four players — the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed mobile giant, Econet, NetOne, Telecel Zimbabwe and TelOne, the State-run landline service operation.

Speaking at the launch of TelOne’s client experience centre and client service charter in Harare yesterday, Information Communication Technology minister Jenfan Muswere said the facility would give TelOne capacity to deliver on its target.

“As the shareholder, we have very high expectations for you and it is my belief that once you fix the client experience issues, especially around quality of service and responsiveness, you will be able to deliver on the five targets that we have given you,” he said.

“Our expectation is for you to secure 25% revenue market share, development of 10 new data centric products and services, reduction in overheard expenses and infrastructure expansion and sharing. Specific to market share growth, I am sure your renewed focus on client experience will be helpful together with other key investments that are required.”

Data on TelOne’s current market share of the revenue indicates that it still has significant strides to make before gaining the required threshold, as it has to compete with three big players operating in the mobile telecoms space.

TelOne managing director Chipo Mtasa said the model that was launched in Harare would be replicated across the firm’s countrywide network.

“The idea is to be able to serve all our clients who include corporates, SMEs and residents in an appealing, high-tech environment and with a dynamic team that we are certain to meet all their needs,” Mtasa said.

She said the client service charter outlined the firm’s commitment improve service.

At NetOne, Muswere demanded the implementation of strategies towards clearing a US$286 million debt owed to Chinese lender China Exim Bank.

He has also directed the firm to collect up to $2,3 billion (about US$26,8 million as at August 2021) in outstanding debts owed by clients, including the government.

This was expected to be achieved by the end of last month.

In August, Muswere said while Zimbabwe’s second largest mobile telecoms network had achieved significant progress towards chipping off EcoCash’s share of the mobile money transfer market, the battle to make fresh market inroads should be scaled up to ensure OneMoney has a 40% market share by year end.

Muswere said he intended to roll out performance-based contracts as the business implements full-scale commercialisation.

Muswere’s list of demands could be tough for an entity that has operated without a substantive chief executive officer for a long time.

But these could be signs of a looming revamp of the NetOne executive as government gears up to frustrate Econet Wireless’ ambition to continue dominating the mobile telecoms space.

“I applaud NetOne for its determination to attain the majority of the market share and improve on the growth rate of yesteryear,” Muswere said in his address to the NetOne annual general meeting in August.

He said the firm should achieve the milestone within the next financial year.

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