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Zimbabwe's TelOne pins revenue hopes on data

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Zimbabwean state-run fixed-line phone operator TelOne is looking to data services to boost revenue, at a time when it is reportedly owed $200 million in unpaid bills.

Acting managing director, Hampton Mhlanga told a Zimbabwean parliamentary portfolio committee on media, information and communication that TelOne’s heavy debtors’ balance was mainly a result of “non-payment of services consumed by both corporate and residential” customers.

To counter this, the company is now expanding its internet services through Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) connectivity, which experts said offers connectivity close to broadband connectivity speeds.

TelOne’s ADSL has up to now been limited mainly to Harare and Mhlanga said this week that this service will now be rolled out in other cities and towns across the country.

"Expansion plans to cover towns and cities are underway in trying to utilise 16,000 lines and increase capacity to 38,000 lines," he said.

Information obtained from the company shows that TelOne has already activated over 8 000 ADSL lines.

“The upgrade to ADSL internet connectivity is a positive development for the company which has lagged technology developments in the past as it was still connecting people using the outdated analogue telephone system,” said Moses Moyo, who runs an IT consultancy company.

TelOne is one of several state run parastatals - including the government owned mobile network operator NetOne - that have been earmarked for privatisation by Gorden Moyo, the country’s parastatals minister.

However, efforts to privatise the ailing parastatals have not made meaningful headway, as experts say some officials are stalling the commercialisation efforts.

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