Tawanda Musarurwa in Victoria Falls
STATE-owned mobile telecommunications service provider NetOne is aiming to achieve revenues of $200 million by year end as it moves ahead with its network expansion project which has a strong focus on 4G technology.In an interview on the sidelines of the Innovation Africa Digital Summit which began in Victoria Falls yesterday, NetOne managing director Mr Reward Kangai said the company’s on-going broadband expansion will have a positive impact on the firm’s coffers in the long-run.
He added that the expansion drive will also result in improved communication services, which will in turn drive up the company’s subscriber base.
“We are looking at a revenue figure of $200 million by year end, obviously it’s a high figure but with our best efforts I am sure we can reach that target,” said Mr Kangai.
The telecoms firm expects a 51 percent increase in subscribers by the close of 2015.
“As at the end of the last quarter we had 3,3 million subscribers,” he said
“By year end we are targeting around 5 million subscribers,” said Mr Kangai.
The NetOne MD said its acquisition of a spectrum previously utilised by television broadcasting had given them an advantage over their competitors in terms of expanding their broadband services.
“We also have this new spectrum, the 700 megahertz (MHz) which was vacated by television broadcasting. We have acquired that spectrum to be used for 4G LTE and because it is 700MHz its propagation distance is two to three times the current 1,8 gigahertz (GHz) so with our existing base stations we are going to double our coverage. We have set ourselves to provide unparalleled and high quality communication services,” he said.
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Encyclopaedia, the 700MHz Band is an important swathe of spectrum available for both commercial wireless and public safety communications.
The Band consists of 108 megahertz of spectrum running from 698-806MHz and was freed up as a result of the Digital Television Transition.
“The location of the 700MHz Band — just above the remaining TV broadcast channels — gives it excellent propagation characteristics. This allows the 700MHz signals to penetrate buildings and walls easily and to cover larger geographic areas with less infrastructure (relative to frequencies in higher bands),” says the FCC.
Mr Kangai said the effective implementation of its extensive broadband expansion project will make it possible for the telecoms firm to extend e-education services in the rural areas, of which they have already engaged Zarnet to provide software for distance education.
He also said NetOne has begun carrying out some work with a number of doctors across the country to provide health services remotely.