Zim ministers, parastatals owe NetOne $6mln
- Parent Category: Mobile
- Published on 08 August 2012
Zimbabwean government officials and ministries owe embattled state-run mobile operator, NetOne, about $6 million in unpaid service fees, the telco’s managing director Reward Kangai has said.
NetOne is the third largest mobile operator in Zimbabwe with approximately 1.6 million subscribers, according to the country’s communications regulatory body.
Kangai says that in total NetOne is owed more than $21 million by defaulting customers, with government officials owing almost a third of this amount.
“Treasury, through government ministries, owes NetOne more than $6 million. A number of parliamentarians and senators owe NetOne since 2009 and had not paid up to now,” said Kangai.
He said the outstanding debts account for much of the loss that the company has made. For the full year period ending December 2010, NetOne posted a $14.4 million loss.
Furthermore, the unpaid debts and losses add NetOne’s other woes.
The company is under pressure from its rival operator, Econet, which has accused it of failing to pay call termination and interconnection fees.
Moreover, reports in the country say that NetOne is failing to pay its annual licence and spectrum fees to the telecoms regulator, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ).
As a result, analysts say the Zimbabwean government needs to prioritise the commercialisation of NetOne “so that it becomes self-sustaining and commercial”.
Despite NetOne’s problems, Kangai is optimistic about the operator’s future.
“We are aiming towards reaching a 3 million subscriber base by end of this year and, given what has happened so far, and the plans we have in terms of expanding the network, we are very confident of achieving our goal.”