At this point, I’m assured the T in Telecel stands for trouble. The most recent negative press associated with the company came from its own workers writing to the Ministry of ICT pleading with the government to intervene and “save their livelihoods”.
The Mobile Network Operator came out and told shareholders (which include the government) along with subscribers to not worry since they had a strategic 5-year plan in place:
Telecel Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd would like to assure all its stakeholders and customers, that while the Company is facing some challenges, the Company continues to offer quality service to its customers.
Plans are underway to address the issue of recapitalisation and in this regard, a 5 Year Strategic Plan has already been formulated and adopted.
The business continues to focus on ensuring that it offers the most affordable service to its customers in light of the depressed consumer disposable incomes and would like to thank its valued customers for the continued support in the face of these trying operating conditions.
There are a number of problems with the above statement issued out by Telecel;
First of all, the company doesn’t “continue to offer quality services to its customers”. They have less than 20 4G base stations across the entire country and many times subscribers complain about having no network at all. This was something raised by the people working there as well:
The network availability has been cut by more than 65% with a few towns and cities only having network available in the CBD (central business district) or when electricity is available which is during odd night hours.
More frustratingly, Telecel doesn’t share any details regarding the 5-year plan they have adopted. When was it adopted? What are their goals? What should shareholders and subscribers hold them accountable to after the 5 year period has come to pass?
And mind you this isn’t unheard of, NetOne shared their back to basics strategy and the pillars they believe anchor that. OneMoney also shared their target to beat EcoCash in 2 years. In this case, shareholders and subscribers know the goal of the company and can hold it accountable once the period passes. The company is incentivised to work. Telecel, on the other hand, is assuring they have a plan… One they are not confident enough to share but it’s there.
Telecel’s statement is an empty PR statement which is kind of painful if you’re a shareholder and subscriber and instead of being assured, I’m left with more doubt regarding the state of the mobile network operator.