TelOne, the State owned telecoms operator with the sole mandate on fixed landline services has had a bit of a bitter sweet year.
On the one hand it has been glowing in the light of positive financial results, clutching a decent product portfolio and enjoying a growing presence in the rollout of broadband services, where telecoms seems to matter the most these days.
But on the other hand, it’s haunted by demons form its past, saddled by a legacy debt from a bygone era when it was known as the PTC and it wasn’t as commercial as it is now. Back then, it could, in essence, offer services on credit through a not so strict post-paid billing system.
That was then. Now things have changed and to fix this, it has been working on introducing prepaid billing system which is meant to help manage debt and give its customers an alternative that has automatic budgetary controls.
According to an article in the Sunday Mail, the first phase of the prepaid system rollout has begun and it is now being used in different areas across Zimbabwe.
Pumtree, Kariba, Karoi, Mazowe, Ruwa, Marondera and the high density suburb of Chikanga in Mutare are some of the areas in 6 different provinces that have been cited by TelOne as places where the prepaid system has been introduced for TelOne broadband and voice products.
Assuming that this prepaid system is successfully rolled out to all of TelOne’s service areas, thanks to the $98 million facility that was sourced by the government (its owner) from China, TelOne will be better placed to collect future revenues.
It could also create a channel for some form of debt payment from its customers, much in the same way that ZESA, another parastatal suffering from yesteryear debt, has managed to start collections on outstanding bills through its prepaid model.