Fixed telecommunications services provider TelOne said on Thursday it has recovered $40 million of the $264 million owned by various players across the economy, including the Government, and is making strides to recover the debt.
“We have recovered around $40 million. But it’s not nearly enough considering that we are being owed more than $200 million by various debtors. So efforts are continuing”, said TelOne Managing Director, Chipo Mtasa.
In 2016, TelOne managed to collect US$123 million after an aggressive debt collection strategy and the previous year the parastatal had recovered US$190 million.
As of 2016, companies owed TelOne US$92 million, while private homes, Government, Parastatals and Local Authorities were in US$83 million, US$41 million, US$36 million and US$10,6 million arrears respectively.
“After a decade and a half of uninterrupted growth, the amount of time we spent talking on our phones went into reverse last year. Voice services, previously TelOne’s cash cow, took a 20 percent knock in revenue while broadband services earnings increased by 10 percent. High usage of over-the-top services such as WhatsApp was impacting on voice revenues.”
TelOne said the parastatal has decentralised debt collection efforts to come closer to their exchanges.
“We are decentralising our debt collection efforts to come closer to our exchanges where we can be closer to the customers. We are also busy with the modernisation project to put up prepaid facilities so that we can then link some of the owed bills to a prepaid service,” she said.
She said every employee in TelOne was now participating in the debt collection initiatives, increasing its capacity and impact.
Meanwhile, the volume of calls from landlines fell 20% in 2016 and the amount of mobile phone calls also went into reverse.