Boardroom shake-up at Zimbabwe’s NetOne

HARARE – A board and management shake-up is looming at Zimbabwe’s state run mobile operator, NetOne, with the government looking to strengthen the telco and enhance its presence in a sector dominated by Econet Wireless.

NetOne

NetOne has overtaken Telecel Zimbabwe to become the country’s second largest telco by subscriber numbers. However, its financial performance over the past few years has been dismal and knowledgeable sources have told ITWeb Africa that the government is now keen to reform NetOne.

A mobile phone company has been advertising for senior management, financial and operational positions in local newspapers. On Thursday morning, Supa Mandiwanzira, the Zimbabwean ICT Minister could not immediately respond to questions on the looming management shake-up at NetOne, saying he was in a meeting.

Reward Kangai, the NetOne managing director, told ITWeb Africa in a phone interview: “It didn’t say it was NetOne, did it? It wasn’t advertised as NetOne so your source should give you the details.”

However, ITWeb Africa has been informed that management changes have been approved for the company. The sources said the changes will also affect Kangai as the government seeks to up competitiveness for the telco.

“It’s a sweeping shake-up and even the big bosses will be affected. The company has potential to play up in the sector but it needs to be refocused and hence the management changes are to take place,” said a source, who requested not to be named.

NetOne is gearing for expansion of services in Zimbabwe, in partnership with Chinese telecom network equipment provider, Huawei. It has a $218 million standing loan facility with China’s Eximbank, which will be used to boost its broadband internet capacity and expand its network.

“We are in the midst of implementing a very extensive project which we call the Mobile Broadband Project. The thrust of the project is to expand 2.5G base stations, 3G base stations and 4G base stations,” Kangai said last month.

By the end of last year, NetOne had around 3 million subscribers and is targeting 5 million subscribers by the end of this year. The company has also said it is pulling all stops to grow its revenue base. – IT Web Africa

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