TelOne recruits Orange unit as consultant on Huawei upgrade project; minister says TelOne-NetOne merger inevitable

29 Mar 2016

Zimbabwe’s stated-owned fixed line operator TelOne has signed a deal with Sofrecom, a unit of Orange Group of France, to audit and analyse procurement contracts for its USD98 million network modernisation project being carried out by China’s Huawei Technologies, NewsDay reports. The Zimbabwean newspaper learned that Sofrecom had won a selection process administered by the State Procurement Board (SPB). Under a previously announced USD98 million loan facility signed with China Exim Bank in December, TelOne is set to expand its fibre backbone infrastructure and continue with the digitisation of its networks, while improving its broadband access networks and value added service offerings, in a project scheduled to begin at the end of March. The deal with Sofrecom is worth USD270,000 and the consultancy work will take four weeks, to pave the way for the full launch of the project, TelOne’s corporate communications manager Melody Harry said. ‘As part of the due diligence exercise to finalise the contract with Huawei under the USD98 million China Exim Bank facility, TelOne issued a consultancy tender … to assist with the final technical evaluation and re-scoping of final works to be done.’ An additional unnamed source told the paper: ‘Sofrecom … signed the contract with TelOne on 15 March so that its suppliers do not offer inappropriate, obsolete equipment and overcharged equipment.’

Meanwhile, NewsDay quotes ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira as saying that a merger of TelOne with state-owned cellco NetOne is inevitable, in line with Zimbabwe’s current telecoms infrastructure-sharing initiative. Speaking at the ministry’s high level consultative seminar for state-owned enterprises on infrastructure sharing, Mandiwanzira said the convergence of TelOne and NetOne was unavoidable as technology continues to evolve, declaring: ‘TelOne and NetOne, we are going towards convergence, it does not need rocket science, but in the near future, because of technology issues TelOne and NetOne will be under one roof, to offer triple play, voice data and mobile.’

Zimbabwe, Huawei Technologies, NetOne, Orange Group, TelOne