TelOne scales down fibre optic cable project
State-owned fixed telecommunication provider, TelOne, has scaled down its modernisation project for fibre optic cable installation awarded to a Chinese company due to delays and non-availability of funding by the contractor.
The $98 million contract meant to upgrade and modernise the network was awarded to Huawei Technologies of China in 2010, but it has taken long to take off due to what TelOne managing director Chipo Mtasa said “are processes here in Zimbabwe as well as in China”.
The scaling-down of the project comes amid allegations from some workers that the project had been overpriced and taken long to hit the ground so that it could give the State utility more revenue streams.
Tel One Managing Director Chipo Mtasa
“The $98 million facillity will be maintained, but the scope of work will differ given the depreciation in value of components in the original quote and the aspects of the project that are already being implemented using own resources. Huawei has further committed that prices will be reviewed to prevailing rates as and when the project will finally be implemented, while TelOne will ensure that due diligence is done at all times,” Mtasa said.
She said TelOne had been affected negatively by the delay in implementing the project and had now resorted to using its own resources to fund the installation of fibre optic cables throughout the country.
“Having noted the risk of being overcharged by this particular vendor, TelOne independently conducted a thorough benchmarking exercise on prices offered by Huawei and those from ZTE, Fibrehome, China Commserve and Alcatel Lucent. It emerged that Huawei’s pricing is aligned to prices being offered by other players internationally,” she said.
Source: NewsDay 11 September 2015