BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
STATE-OWNED telecoms operator, TelOne, is forecasting to generate $165 million in revenue this year, which will be anchored on the company’s broadband business, digital services and other value-added services.
TelOne spokesperson Melody Harry told NewsDay that despite the economic challenges being faced in the country, the parastatal was positive that the broadband business would continue to grow on the back of an increase in broadband capacity, largely expected to come through the use of new technologies.
“The focus on innovation, digital services and other value-added services is expected to also strengthen the positive growth that is expected. Specifically, revenue of $165 million is expected. We are also expecting an increase in subscriber base…,” she said.
The company expects to increase its broadband subscriber base by 32% to 138 185, voice (prepaid) by 14% to 156 238 and voice (post-paid) by 4% to 115 622.
In 2018, the company’s profitability at earnings before taxes, depreciation and amortisation level improved by 24%, growing from $17 million in 2017 to $25 million, driven by cost containment and broadband revenue growth.
As at December 2018, Harry said their data revenues had increased by 44% while voice revenues had decreased by 14%.
“Our projection is that broadband will be the mainstay of the business from 2019 going forward,” she said.
Harry said although the company experienced growth in broadband, revenue generation in 2018 was greatly affected by missed revenue opportunities due to foreign currency shortages to allow for the procurement of materials required to meet customer orders.
“Network vandalism has also been a major hindrance in revenue generation due to the continued disruption of service. The scourge of vandalism led to a monthly revenue loss of more than $2,2 million in 2018,” she said.
“In the past year, TelOne incurred costs of more than $913 000 for repair of damaged network through labour costs and cost of replacing the stolen cables. Other than loss of revenue, vandalism causes loss of customer confidence in TelOne’s service, leading to damage to the company’s reputation. Therefore we have intensified the crackdown on vandalism,” she said. Harry said TelOne had embraced government plans for partial privatisation and looks forward to getting investors who not only bring the much-needed capital injection, but also skills to grow the business.