There has been no progress of note in the privatisation of Zimbabwe’s telecoms companies, which has been recognised as a possible strategy in a bid to help the ailing financial status of the country.
State-owned anddebt-ridden TelOne, the landline network service provider, appointed a new managing director recently but its technology is outdated and it is suffering financially due to subscribers not paying for the services provided. TelOne is also under threat by new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) emerging in the country.
The state-owned mobile telecoms company, NetOne, has just under two million subscribers. Econet has reached seven million while Telecel is expected to reach 2.7 million users through rapid expansions of its service.
TelOne and NetOne’s poor performance will remain a constant if they stay under the control of the state, according to economic analysts.
Edgar Nyoni, executive director for Zimbabwe State Enterprise Restructuring Agency, said the issue of NetOne’s commercialisation and privatisation of parastatals is yet to be discussed by the inter-ministerial committee and will then have to be considered by the Cabinet.
Proposals to attract investors for TelOne and NetOne have not materialised in any way. However, rumours claim South Africa based mobile network MTN attained a stake in NetOne over the course of the last few months. The part South Afircan state-owned Telkom, however, denied claims it was negotiating the acquisition of a stake in TelOne.