Mtasa not the panacea to Telone`s woes

ZIMBABWE’S state fixed telephone landline provider, TelOne has recently appointed Mrs Chipo Mtasa as its new managing director.
Chipo takes over the reigns from Mr Hampton Mhlanga, the Telone`s Technical Director who has been acting for the position for years now and I feel the demands and expectations from the new MD are hugely outrageous.
Mr Mhlanga is largely credited for installing optic fibre transmission between the capital Harare and the country’s third largest city of Mutare as well as Bulawayo.
The new Managing Director is coming to a parastal which is debt ridden with very little hope of regaining their financial position as it is also heavily owed funds with both the public and private sector .Government owes Telone a bigger chunk of the total $300 million they aim to recover.
The new MD, among other key transformation developments to take place at the state’s under performing fixed telephone operator is to ensure that broadband connectivity has been installed across the country, restoration of telephone network links .
TelOne is facing stiff competition from other broad band players like Econet, Africom and Powertel who own huge chunks of the internet market in Zimbabwe.
Speaking to journalists in Harare, Zimbabwe’s transport, communications and infrastructural development permanent secretary, Munesu Munodawafa, said the appointment of Mtasa would spearhead the telecommunications industry.

He noted that one of the immediate expectation from Mtasa was ensure that the forthcoming UNWTO General Assembly to be held in Victoria Falls this year was well linked to enable participants from across the globe to experience fastest internet connectivity as well as quality voice communications.

“TelOne needs to restructure in order to strengthen its already extensive infrastructure and asset base. Mrs Mtasa’s experience will greatly assist in this process,” Munodawafa said in the speech read on behalf of Nicholas Goche, the minister of transport, communications and infrastructural development.
The huge expectations against Mtasa are rather outrageous if government is going to use a wait and see approach, not much can be changed by merely assigning a performing managing director especially if Telone`s environment is also not favourably changed.
Government will need to set pace by first repaying the ISP before they expect everyone else to produce results.
Private sector bills emanate from the Zim-dollar era where some subscribers haven’t paid a single cent yet still enjoying the services.
It costs less than 6 cents per minute for land line to landline calls but due to poor servicing most Zimbabweans are not motivated to join the unnecessarily long waiting period era and let alone succumb to poor service provision, the same old parastatal way of doing things.
Things have greatly changed and parastatals like Telone would need to pull up socks! Gone are the days where they would sleep on the job with no one challenging them with good competitive services or products, the land line although cheap has been abandoned.
Customer confidence can still be reinvigorated should Telone seriously take the matter and it would not take us years before Zimbabweans again trust their sole landline provider.
While Telone owns and runs its own fibre across the length and breadth of the country, this is a sure sign that it can fairly compete against other players and use that to its own advantage as it does not incur operational costs of buying bandwidth from an Internet Access Provider.
Besides the fibre advantage, Telone has a serious advantage of being the sole ADSL technology provider which they can use to woo clients.
Prior to joining TelOne, Mtasa was at the helm of Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) as the chief Executive Officer for 8 years.

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