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Loan gives Zim's TelOne opportunity to upgrade

Loan gives Zim's TelOne opportunity to upgrade.

Telco to access US$98m loan to implement network optimisation project.

Zimbabwe's state owned fixed line mobile operator, TelOne has presented details of its network modernisation programme, underpinned by access to a US$98-million loan facility from China's Exim Bank, which the telco says will result in a host of value added services.

Last year, Zimbabwe officially entered into a loan agreement with China when President Xi Jinping visited the Southern African country.

TelOne spokesperson Melody Harry said the mobile operator is already making arrangements to access the loan, which is vital to modernisation of its network arrangements.

Harry noted that in order to compete effectively, the company's network requires a complete overhaul and the business must also begin its fibre optic transmission and broadband access project. This is critical to the telco's effort to emerge as a fully-fledged technology company.

The project, which is expected to be completed in a year, will usher in a number of value added services, which will be made public in due course, she said.

In line with turn-around projects, Harry said the company had introduced various products in the country to compete with rival operators.

According to Harry, the mobile network introduced products such as public Wi-Fi and Fibre to the Home (FTTH). She is confident TelOne can provide services over and above its traditional offerings, including enhanced data services.

"We will be giving a fixed mobile convergence where we should be able to provide our customers Internet from a mobile device or where-ever," she said in an emailed response.

Harry said the company would be able to offer broadband services and the internet at speeds not yet experienced. "TelOne is looking at providing unified services such that a landline number can be used on the mobile phone," she said.

Last year, TelOne reported a $480 000 net profit for the year to the end of June, up from a $7.8 million loss in the previous contrasting period.

The company experienced the profit jump despite a slump in revenues for the period, from $76 million to $69 million attributed to tough economic conditions that are forcing subscribers to spend less on communication.

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