Last week’s parliamentary portfolio committee meeting on Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services where NetOne was giving oral evidence on One Wallet, was a blessing to those of us that are always knocking for information on closed systems. We didn’t attend ourselves, but the Financial Express has a brilliant collection of figures in the article they did yesterday.
This is really just a summary of their article. Unfortunately we can’t link to it as it was via email and their website is down. Anyway, here goes:
Subscribers and Revenue
- The total active subscribers on the network are between 2.7 and 2.8 million
- The company is looking to increase that number to 3 million by the end of the year.
- In 2013, NetOne made total revenue of $105 million and a profit of $3.5 million. That profit however is threatened by a ZIMRA VAT penalty on amounts NetOne is owed by subscribers. About $30 million from the crossover from Zimbabwean dollars to the multi currency regime (dollarization)
- Hopes to make $110 mil total revenue this year, which would just be a small growth from last year’s $105 mil. The reason may be that;
- Average Revenue Per User is being eaten away by internet apps like WhatsApp and Skype.
Infrastructure and Investment needed
- NetOne currently has 654 base stations against a requirement of 3,000. 3,000 because apparently they need a base station for every 1,000 subscribers.
- Each base station costs an average of $250,000
- NetOne needs $570 million to facilitate its network expansion projects
- The operator on the verge of concluding a $280 mln loan with a Chinese institution that would help it enhance its capabilities.
- The company is affected by the fact that its main shareholder, the government, doesn’t have any money to invest in it. “ It’s no secret government is our shareholder but it is grappling with other challenges; so the question is how we raise the capital,” Kangai said to the committee.
- The service currently has 200,000 active subscribers. A depressed figure showing that just 7.4 of NetOne’s subscribers have taken up the service since launch back in January 2011.
- NetOne targets 750,000 subscribers
- The service how has some 1,100 agents Zimpost, ZETDC (ZESA), TelOne, POSB, Agribank (essentiall;y, fellow parastatals)
- The operator believes that ZESA prepaid electricity electronic vouchers will drive growth of the mobile money service. NetOne will put sim card/OneWallet sell points in ZESA banking halls. “We have already put on order an additional one million sim cards so that we do not have any shortages.” said the MD.
- Currently, OneWallet is facing challenges due to the prevailing liquidity crunch and power outages which disrupt One Wallet transactions.