We have seen their new pool of cars running around to support clients, some of the transmission cables lying idle along the roads, some of their Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) poles falling and refreshingly we saw new Wi-Fi hotshots sprouting along the telecommunication pathways owned by the parastatal around the city. But despite all those efforts, has TelOne done enough to retain subscribers? A big No!!
TelOne last year wore a new face signaling a fresh breath and new energy through a vigorous re-branding which saw the parastatal changing its logo and earlier this year restructured the managerial hierarchy with a view of turning the telecoms operator into a strategic business unit.
They may have recently celebrated sudden profits for the first time in a long trading period since Chipo Mutasa took the reigns, which is very much commendable, although the profits were realized with a pending load.
After all this has been said and done, it seems not much is moving on surface, the new energy is no longer as vibrant as it was meant to be and it seems something is just not right at Telone which needs urgent attention if they are to find their touch back into the market.
TelOne has successfully killed their Land lines. The PSTN infrastructure has been their main trademark since the ceremonial berth of the parastatal but now some of the poles transmitting their land line network lie idle with dis-integrated wires along the doted lines.
TelOne has continued to lose the most important asset, subscriber base, amidst all these changes and tweaking, which should force them to come back to the drawing table because something is just not right and they should not pretend all is well.
Zimbabwean economy is currently going through its most difficult period and its common cause that everyone is now looking for the most affordable means, and implementing cost cutting measures which under normal circumstance having a Telone Landline is a priority.
Everyone would want to do business or even call family and friends at the cheapest rates and one would ask why is Telone Landline not an option.
It is a wrong myth that technology has forced people to go mobile, in fact the most developed nations worldwide are still using landlines for both personal and business purposes.
In South Africa, United States and the United Kingdom people are still queuing for the public booths just to pass that important message on very low costs.
These countries have higher mobile and broadband penetration rates than Zimbabwe so I will never budge into the assertion that landlines are for a predigitial era and less developed economies.
Telone simply does not have a way out of this one, they need to change the way they communicate what the land line means and how it can serve the Zimbabwean populace which is in an economic dire straights where many people can not still afford luxury calling.
What if the public phones were strategically located in the first street or bus terminuses of all cities. What if I could buy tokens to call for 30 seconds or so for as low as 10 cents, would not even buy more.If we all send call backs at one moment or the other it simply means we need an alternative method of real time communication which whatsapp can not even do.
WhatsApp works well if you have the data bundles and network coverage but what if you are completely broke and need to send a message to someone who is not even online? What if you need to communicate to someone for a long time and you really want to do it in the comfort of your home and say it all without worrying about those minutes expiring?
The landline really comes in handy, its not a phone for the poor , I can still even hook online fro any public phone for whatever reason if the place and the price is convenient then say it all to my loved ones.
Besides the Landline outcry, TelOne still has data based services which if they chose they can replace the TelOne with better technology like CDMA or VoIP.
Few years back Telone Once introduced a cool CDMA service, which allowed subscribers to carry their landline numbers in their pocket, was that not really innovative> Unfortunately it had its own limitations like geographical issues but I still think carrying your landline I one cool functionality which they allowed to die.
If mobility is really a preference for most Zimbabwean subscribers then they should have highly priorotised the technology or even now carry over the same subscribers over VoIP.
Tell me the new TelOne VoIP numbers and I will clap hands for them. They have the infrastrure, they had the technology they had the subscribers and today they are waiting for all the other players make inroads then fight on afterwards.
If you noticed recently, TelOne has stopped calling itself a fixed operator, they want the converged term better but are they really converged and aggressive to be heard. Besides the wifi hotspots what other IP based services do you know them for?
TelOne Customer service and support should know that they need to move from a parastatal mediocre way of doing things. When I call enquiring for a service or support it simply means I want to do business with you and I still want to maintain a relationship with you so please treat me like you care!
It does not hurt to call me later on to ask how far I have gone with my enquiery or complain and please stop billing your clients for maintaining a dead line, if its not being used it should not cost anyone lest you encourage me to dump you completely, that’s an old system which frightens your clients and day by day subscribers are going.
ADSL is fast internet, it gets me online to do whatever I want to. The rude fact is most Zimbabweans who are not tech savvy really don’t care whether you connect them by air sea or copper, just give them something that is fast enough and they will give you the money.
While heavy users may demand streaming capabilities and heavy download tiers, not all clients are equal but who the hell needs those slow pckges in the first plce, keep fst nd simple and those landline copper cables will soon be busy.
If I was once a TelOne client I surely do not see any reason why they should allow me to leave their Platform, Telone has allowed thousands to pack up and they are now hunting for new clients. Remember they used to be the sole fixed telecommunications provider and allowed everyone they had and those they never had to look for plan B.
What if they would bundle up their products all in one cool and affordable neatly packaged, we all have one rule, if its not broken don’t fix it, if its working why dump it?
Telone has got fibre optics, the last news we shared they were running the lines along the highway and last I expected them is to run in my back yard, are they done with highways yet for local and metro connectivity, do we need everyone digging or you can make arrangements to carry clients from some residential and industrial areas then link them to your last mile.
If I had Vsat , I would know that one day like the urban areas all rural schools and communities are soon going to be connected, every rural or missionary school today would say yes to Vsat satellites and internet connectity so the uestion how much of this market has Zimbabwean players knocked for, how many students fees does it take an instituions to run or maintain a Vsat satellite
Perception is everything
When I hear the name TelOne what do I think of, fast, efficient, reliable and professional service? Or may be I see some government employees who do not even care about delivering a service whether or not it works, or whether they make a profit or loss, Perception is everything and after changing the colours they should change the perception I had about them years ago
TelOne has a serious potential and are still lying on a gold mine which will soon depreciate, if they don’t know how to tap into it.
They can not be allowed to continue losing subscribers at this rate be it ADSL, Landline even the data based ones, a new plan should be rolled out urgently and im happy they announced the internal restructuring, but more is needed