Business Reporter
\nFIXED phone operator, TelOne, which is owed more than $160 million by its customers, plans to introduce a prepaid system to stem the rising tide of customer defaults. Its debtors include Government, the private sector and households. TelOne’s managing director, Mrs Chipo Mtasa said while a prepaid platform might eat into the company’s revenue, it will help the company collect liquid cash than is currently the case.

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“In each category, there is a strategy around there (to recover debt but) ultimately, what we want to do around there obviously is to then put in place a prepaid billing platform.

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“We know that we might also then face some decline in revenues but we are saying better revenue collected than to have uncollected revenue in our books.

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“So that’s another area we are busy working with (as it) will help us address the issue of interconnection, which other players continue raising with us and that I think is under constant discussion and we are linking that with the capacity to generate revenue,” she said.

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The parastatal is currently saddled with a US$29 million interconnection fee debt owed to Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (US$24 million) and Telecel Zimbabwe (US$5 million).

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Fixed telephony is mainly facing significant challenges from mobile technologies, including the increased use of social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Twitter.

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Mrs Mtasa noted that the traditional voice business is no longer “as we wish it to be”.
\nTelOne’s revenue for the first six months to June 30, 2015 dropped 9 percent to US$69,2 million from US$76,1 million from the same period a year ago.

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Mobile phone operator’s are struggling as well.
\nEconet Wireless Zimbabwe (EWZ), Zimbabwe’s leading mobile operator by subscribers, reported that its revenues for the year ended February 28, 2015 fell to $746 million from US$753 million.

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But TelOne management believes that if they cannot control the decline in revenues, they should be able to control and adjust costs.
\nAlready, the company has made several adjustments, including slashing salaries by 15 percent across the board, in order to contain costs.
\n“If we are doing better, then of course we can reinstate but if we are not, then we are going to engage again in conversation,” said Mrs Mtasa.