State-run Telecom Company, TelOne has scripted a multi-pronged strategy to turn back to profitability. The move has helped the loss-making company announce a $10million turn-around which saw TelOne achieving break-even in 2018 from a loss position of $10,2million in 2017 without Legacy Loan Expenses and ZIMRA penalties and interest.
TelOne increased revenue by 5% increase for the financial year ended 31 December 2018 owing to a 37% upsurge in broadband revenue. Total revenue grew to $125 million in 2018 compared to $119 million achieved in same period in prior year.
Broadband revenue grew to reach $61.1 million from $45 million in 2017. Since the beginning of the implementation of the National Broadband Project in 2016, TelOne has witnessed an 85% cumulative growth in data revenue resulting for the first time, in the off-setting of voice revenue loss by gain in data revenue, a direct result of the business’ transformation strategy.
This investment was largely focused on expanding the backbone footprint, increasing the core network capacity as well as fortifying the network which was largely legacy.
The company’s fixed data subscriber base grew from 87 851 in 2017 to 100 005 marking an increase of 14%. TelOne happens to be the sole ADSL provider in the country. ADSL may not be the future but for the moment it has a place at the table. ADSL utilises those old copper lines that were laid out decades ago and for the moment that network reaches some places no other IAP can reach.
TelOne’s balance sheet continues to be weighed down by legacy loans and the company is expecting a conclusion of the debt restructuring to ease the company’s profit and loss position.
The unavailability of foreign currency remains a major constraint to the parastatal, with foreign obligations rising to unsustainable levels. TelOne operations, including bandwidth importation are dependent on foreign partners.