NetOne chief executive officer Reward Kangai says the state-owned mobile telecommunications company requires more than half a billion dollars for it to provide competitive and quality services.
Presenting oral evidence to the House of Assembly’s communication technology, postal and courier services portfolio committee, Kangai called on the government to provide adequate funding, saying NetOne cannot compete or offer quality services without investing significantly in network development.
With only 2.7 million subscribers, NetOne enjoys 18 percent of the market share.
Kangai said they are aiming to reach three million subscribers by the end of the year.
With just below 700 base stations, Kangai says they require an extra 3,000 base stations to be able to cover every part of the country.
Kangai said the company is expecting to get a $218 million loan from China for network expansion, adding that the loan has been delayed by interference from competitors or companies associated with their rivals.
He said the loan has been approved and now all documents await signing by the parties involved.
Despite being awarded a mobile telecommunications license first, NetOne now lags being two privately owned companies, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, and Telecel.
Kangai refused to answer questions on why the company has not yet found strategic partners to improve its operations, saying that questions would be best answered by the government.
Committee chairman, Nelson Chamisa, said the relevant government minister would be called to testify before the committee.
Meanwhile, Kangai said more than 200,000 people are now using the company’s mobile money transfer service, One Wallet, adding the company has ordered one million sim cards for One Wallet.
This, he said, is intended to extend the facility to all places around the country.