TelOne’s revenue performance for the first quarter surged eight percent compared to the same period last year, Managing director Mrs Chipo Mtasa has said.Speaking in an interview at the sidelines of the Huawei ICT seminar, Mrs Mtasa said the performance was however below expectations due to the liquidity crisis currently bedevilling the economy.
“We have been affected by the liquidity crunch that is in the country at the moment; however we think we can recover in the second quarter.
“We may be slightly better than the first quarter of last year, about 8 to 10 percent better in terms of our revenue generation, however we are not quite up to our expectation,” she said.
Shedding light on the ongoing debt collection exercise, Mrs Mtasa said the process has also been haggled by the worsening liquidity challenges, resulting in TelOne’s monthly collections sagging to US$8 million from $13 million last year.
“Debt collection is an ongoing process mainly because TelOne bills are postpaid unlike most of the other players in the sector, so it is always a challenge especially with households to collect on time. The current liquidity crunch is not really assisting us.
“We have seen that from last year, we have had a reduction in the amount we are collecting monthly, however it is slowly improving again. At the moment TelOne is collecting US$8 million a month, but we need really to collect in excess of US$13 million a month which we were doing last year,” she said.
Looking ahead, Mrs Mtasa said the firm is not sitting on its laurels as it intends to invest more than US$100 million over the next four years in a bid to turnaround the fortunes of the company.
“We are busy re-looking at our capital projects with a view to doing another fundraising exercise to the tune of US$100 million. Our capital projects will span from this year right up to 2018 along with our business plan for the strategic transformation of TelOne.
“These capital projects include replacing our core network as our infrastructure is outdated. So we want to replace it and put a new network that will also be complimented by access in network, where you then reach out to the generality of the population. We also want to extend our backbone fibre footprint across country,” she said.
Mrs Mtasa said TelOne is keen on exploring mobile services as their license allows them to offer a number of services.
“We are considering entering the mobile space, particularly the data side and internet provision as our license allows us to provide quite a number of services. Unfortunately, because of limited investment in technology; we have not been able to avail those services to the market,” she said.
Mrs Mtasa said voice remains the mainstay of the business as most corporates find it reliable and affordable. — FinX.