The Zimbabwean government is currently seeking funding to expand NetOne’s services lineup as the State ramps up its efforts to increase the viability of the telecoms operators that it owns.
While addressing people at the recent Mobile Money and Digital Payments Conference the Minister of ICT Supa Mandiwanzira highlighted how the government was committed to investments in telecoms infrastructure, pointing out the capital outlay that has already been made for fixed telecoms operator TelOne.
Mandiwanzira also touched on its commitment to NetOne.
Government must be involved in putting up the infrastructure, the backbone infrastructure and must allow private sector to flourish by using that infrastructure.
So we are putting that investment in, we have just secured $98 million from the Exim Bank of China which is going to be used to deploy fibre through TelOne and of course, we are discussing more funding for NetOne to ensure that we broaden some of its services.
This statement comes less than a month after the acting CEO of NetOne, Brian Mutandiro, highlighted how the mobile network operator needs $485 million for the third phase of its network expansion drive.
NetOne entered a two-phase network expansion project valued at over $200 million. The funding for the project was secured through a loan from the Chinese government.
Chinese investment has been a cornerstone of state-led technology investments so it’s likely that the government is also courting additional investment for NetOne from the same circles.
From its previous project, NetOne was able to roll out Zimbabwe’s second largest LTE network.
Following this NetOne has increased its focus on broadband services revising its product lineup and offering greater value for subscribers through integrated voice SMS and data offers like its new OneFusion package.
As telecoms services increasingly rely on revenue from broadband services and less on voice services mobile network operators have to meet the need of improved network capacity to handle these changes.
All this requires a greater investment in network infrastructure that can handle increases in traffic, something that is even more apparent for NetOne especially since it has been enjoying the fastest growth in mobile telecoms subscriber numbers locally.