TelOne planning to use its mobile operator licence

People with Mobiles - Simon Berry - FlickrZimbabwe’s government wants telecommunication companies to come up with an infrastructure sharing framework. (Image source: Simon Berry/Flickr)Government-owned TelOne is planning to enter into a partnership with NetOne, another government-owned company, to start using its mobile telecommunications licence which it had been granted in 2011

TelOne, Zimbabwe’s only fixed telecommunications company, has been unable to utilise its mobile telecommunications licence granted four years ago due to financial constraints. Now, it is hoping to partner with NetOne which is the country’s second largest mobile network operator with about 3.3mn subscribers.

Pointing out how this is the best way for TelOne to activate this licence because of its limited financial resources, Chipo Mtasa, TelOne’s managing director, told journalists last week, “We want to see how we can collaborate a bit more with our mobile sister company NetOne. Even if we wanted to activate it, it might require some significant investment. At the moment what we are looking at is optimising current investments and also raising further funding in areas where there are opportunities.”

This development comes soon after Zimbabwe’s government issued an ultimatum to telecommunication companies in coming up with an infrastructure sharing framework in three months. At present, Zimbabwe’s telecommunications operators individually invest and own infrastructure, giving established players a competitive advantage.

Supa Mandiwanzira, minister for ICT, had told telecommunication companies last week, “In the next 90 days I would like to be invited as the ICT minister to launch the signing ceremony on infrastructure sharing among the players in the industry.”

TelOne, over the years, has transformed its business model to become an Internet service provider over a fixed line service provider. Mtasa said that the company is also considering a fibre to home project that it plans to expand across the country.

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