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TelOne is one of the several Telecoms companies operating in the Zimbabwean telecommunications and technology industry. Its main core business revolves around voice, data and internet products and services. "TelOne owns a wide range of telecommunications equipment, varying from various exchanges located in strategic areas, optical fibre networks, radio network systems plus a wide range of high-tech networks including a satellite base station located in Mazowe area of Mashonaland Central Province in Zimbabwe. The company is headquartered in Harare's central business district."
The History of what is now called TelOne is traced back to the early days of British settlement in the country. In 1892 the British South Africa Company (BSAC) organised the first postal service and ran the service as a self-governing control under the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications.
When Zimbabwe gained its independence in 1980, the Zimbabwe Postal Services Amendment Act which was promulgated through Statutory Instrument 175 was formulated and this gave birth to the Postal and Telecommunications Act to create the Posts and Telecommunications Corporation of Zimbabwe (PTC). PTC's core business was the provision of postal and telecommunications services.
In 1987 legislation promulgated the unbundling of PTC into three different companies whose activities were commercialised. The commercialisation took place in 2000 with the breaking up of PTC into TelOne - a fixed telecommunications provider, NetOne - a mobile network providing a cellular network and Zimpost – a postal services company. All these entities were regulated by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe.
The telecoms company is 100% owned by the government of Zimbabwe. It is run bu the Ministry of Minister of Information Technology and Courier Services. The company is lead by a board of directors who are appointed by the ministry. This board is led by a board chairperson, executive board members and non-executive board members.
TelOne offers fixed landline services to residential and corporate clients all over Zimbabwe through its overhead cable system and other new forms of communication which are penetrating the market such as codeless phone.
ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line)
This is a high speed internet access service that utilises copper telephone links to send and receive data at speeds that far exceed conventional dial up modems. ADSL is an option for broadband internet access using the same telephone cables which maintain a permanent connection. Its main features include;
- High speed internet broadband, delivering much faster speed than dial up internet connection
- Always on internet
- No need for a second line and hence avoid unnecessary monthly line charges
- The service is ideal for both residential and corporate customers who need broadband services.
This is TelOne’s wireless landline connection which gives voice, data and internet users more flexibility and mobility. Its features are;
- Caller ID.
- Conference Calling.
- Operates within a 20 km radius from any base station.
- PC and telephone interface.
VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal)
VSAT is capable of reaching very remote locations and is particularly useful in areas where communications infrastructure is limited or non-existent.
TelOne is Zimbabwe’s sole fixed landline services provider and has a wide network distribution with infrastructure in almost every corner of this country.
TelOne’s network has grown at a fair pace to be the second largest fixed line network in the region after Telkom South Africa. TelOne provides education for workers from other network providers. TelOne is a key player in the national Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry, whose network provides the main backbone network on which other players ride their services.
TelOne made headlines in December 2014 when it introduced "physical prepaid recharge cards for their ADSL broadband service. The recharge cards come in $25, $45, $85 and $160 denominations which have data caps of 10GB, 25GB, 50GB and unlimited data respectively."  This was received as a welcome development in the telecoms sector as it eased the consumers's access to recharge credit. TelOne was also responding to competitive marketing strategies introduced by other local Internet services providers such as Telecel Zimbabwe, PowerTel Communications and Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. In 2014 again, TelOne joined other parastatals in the debts cancellation initiative with the hope of introducing new measures to collect its revenues from the consumers. It wrote off about $80 million dollars owed by its customers.
In 2014, Telecel and TelOne also partnered to enable customers to pay telephone bills with Telecash which is a mobile money facility run by Telecel Zimbabwe. Under the terms of the agreement, telecash subscribers were enabled to pay their phone bills using their mobile phone. In 2011, TelOne also embarked on a programme of installing a fibre cable from Mozambique to Zimbabwe with the hope of providing state of the art internet services for the consumers. The fibre-optic cable connecting Harare and Beitbridge via Bulawayo was also part of this initiative.
In a statement, the telecommunications firm said all Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) broadband customers were migrated to the new system on 27 October 2012 that allows subscribers to pay for data every month in advance or when the need arises. ADSL is a high speed Internet access service that utilises copper telephone links to send and receive data at speeds that far exceed conventional dial up modems.
New Billing System
In December 2012, TelOne introduced a new billing system which enabled customers to monitor usage of data. In a statement released by the company, it was indicated that; "The data bundle is valid for 30 days and when customers recharge for the next month, the remaining balance will be forfeited hence there is need to ensure that customers use the entire data bundle before it expires,".
USD$ 100 Million Debt Recovery
In 2014, TelOne engaged debt collectors to recover $190 million owed by its customers, including $40 million owed by the government in unpaid telephone bills. This was part of the company's restructuring project which has been accelerated by its ambitious 4% growth target by end of 2015. The recovery of a whooping $100 million in a struggling Zimbabwean economy was a monumental achievement for the company. This is contrary to other local telecoms companies which are posting poultry annual profits from their ventures.
Fixed line subscriber numbers in Zimbabwe have fallen from 325,000 to 301 650 according to statistics from the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe between 2009 -2013. Increased competition from mobile operators and companies offering Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony services were among reasons for the declining subscriber numbers. The reason for the decline in the subscriber base has also been attributed to TelOne's reluctance to move with the times and adopt the current strategies in marketing its products. There has been also a widespread concern among consumers on the quality of products and services offered by TelOne. In January 2015, TelOne upped the gear in its initiative to recover debts owed by its customers. It issued letters through its debt collectors to its overdue account holders giving them three day ultimatums to pay up or face the risk of property attachment.
TelOne offers tertiary education (diplomas) to students through its school located in Harare. The three main areas covered under this initiative are Transmission, Network and Switch. The TelOne Centre for learning (TCFL) was also planning to partner with the National University for Science and Technology in technology related subjects.
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- , TelOne Threatens Debtors,NewsDzeZimbabwe, published:9 Jan 2015,retrieved:12 Jan 2015"
- T. T Rutsito, Telone Graduates 47 students, Offers Degree programme Next year.,Technomag, retrieved:12 Jan 2015"