NetOne franchise yields $200m

Enacy Mapakame

State-owned mobile network operator, NetOne’s franchise programme is bearing fruit and has racked in nearly $200 million dollars since launch of the programme just over a year ago.

The franchise programme is aimed at improving the telecoms operator’s distribution channels as it creates convenience and efficiency, bringing products closer to the market.

Chief executive officer Lazarus Muchenje indicated this is also one way of empowering the communities under the firm’s initiatives to boost entrepreneurship within communities which has seen thousands of jobs being created across the value chains throughout the country.

In an interview, he said the franchise programme contributed $40 million in 2018, following its launch in May that same year.

In 2019, its contribution increased to $131 million as the programme gained momentum as more local businesses at community level came on board.

“Now we have over 1 500 franchise shops that have been established across the country from only 34 shops two years ago,” he said in an interview.

This comes as the mobile operator is working on its turnaround which should see it grow into a world class telecoms company.

Mr Muchenje said the company had adopted a back to basics approach, which is premised on four key strategic pillars encompassing quality network, quality distribution, quality contact centre and a quality balance sheet all intended to form an efficient business.

“NetOne has been making strides in terms of transition to a sound organisation, and we set out to clean up what we could, improve what we could. We are out of loss making, back to profitability,” he said.

Although the firm’s financials for the year 2019 are not yet out, indications are that the mobile operator is profitable and prospects for financial year 2020 remain bright, despite the challenging business environment.

“FY2020 will be bigger, we are maintaining the 2019 growth momentum,” said Mr Muchenje.

Other initiatives the telecoms firm has embarked on to improve network availability is realigning available infrastructure to match existing demand.

In this instance, the telecoms firm has redeployed some of its 4G infrastructure to areas of high demand thereby enabling quality network which has seen improvement in data speed and availability.

This initiative has already seen improvements in capacity utilisation of the already existing infrastructure as opposed to having 4G network in areas with low demand for that service.

NetOne’s growth prospects will also be supported by its mobile money platform, OneMoney, which has also been on a growth trajectory of recent.

According to Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ)’s third quarter report for 2019, OneMoney grew by 27 percent to 428 529 from 335 132 subscribers.

The regulator has also forecasted mobile money to continue on a growth path as adoption for plastic money continues to gain traction in Zimbabwe due to the obtaining cash shortages.

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