TelOne has 2,600 ADSL subscribers; wireline users decreasing

21 Dec 2011

Zimbabwe’s Post & Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ) director general, Charles Sibanda, has disclosed that state-run PSTN operator TelOne has connected 2,600 ADSL broadband customers to date since launching the service earlier this year. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, TelOne launched ADSL with connection speed options of 256kbps-2Mbps in July 2011 in areas where its copper access network and fibre backbone reach (although subject to local availability). It subsequently announced that it was preparing to launch a wider deployment of consumer and SME ADSL broadband services by the end of December 2011. Facilitating the new services, in December 2010 TelOne completed the installation of its cross-border fibre-optic cable link from Harare to Beira (Mozambique), and the new backbone went live in March 2011. The new international high speed link, alongside TelOne’s upgrading of its domestic fibre network, has allowed it to offer fixed broadband on a retail basis. Zimbabwean ICT website TechZim reported the latest figures from the POTRAZ director, who said in a speech that there were ‘good prospects for fixed internet expansion’, but also disclosed that TelOne’s fixed line telephony subscriber base has continued its decline to 337,881 lines in service this month. GlobalComms notes that the figure is down from an officially reported peak of 386,000 at end-December 2009, while even lower than the statistic TelOne’s managing director Hampton Mhlanga gave recently when saying that the fixed line subscriber base had fallen from ‘around 450,000’ to 350,000, blaming equipment theft and vandalism as well as poor service factors. The fear is that, in a country where cellular market leader Econet recently claimed to have 1.7 million mobile broadband subscribers, fixed internet services will be overlooked entirely.