NetOne, Zimbabwe’s cellular mobile operator has secured R420 million (about US$60 million) to upgrade its broadband services across the country.
The funds were sourced from a consortium of banks, which comprise of the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ), China Export and Import Bank, Infrastructure Development Bank and Banc ABC.
NetOne Managing Director Reward Kangai said NetOne would connect Zimbabwe’s capital Harare with East Africa through the completed East Africa Submarine System Cables (EASSy), which arrived in Durban’s Mtunzini coastal port of South Africa in 2010.
“We will be investing in software upgrade and positioning call centre attendance in the country,” said Kangai.
After the 2002 targeted sanctions imposed mostly on officials of the then ruling party, Zanu PF by the United States and the European Union over alleged human rights violations, NetOne lost its subscriber base to privately owned Econet Wireless and Telecel Zimbabwe.
NetOne also plans to expand its Internet services to the remotest parts of the country, a development which is likely to restore its top position in cellular and Internet services.
NetOne boasts the first mobile money services in Zimbabwe. The technology enables clients to receive and send money without having a bank account.
Mobile money is one Africa’s fastest growing Value Added Service with Kenya’s M-pesa, South Africa’s FNB eWallet and Uganda’s MobileMoney spearheading the future of banking in Africa.
Kenya is poised to become the fourth most banked economy in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020, predicts a report by the Economic Intelligence Unit, a London-based economic forecasting firm. Kenya’s asset base is expected to more than triple to $48 billion within the next decade, from $15 billion in 2010.