Fixed telephone operator TelOne is currently looking for foreign strategic partners to turn around the fortunes of the parastatal. "We are looking mainly at foreigners for the alliances as they will bring in foreign currency through equity investments which we need for our equipment and other day-to-day running of TelOne," said the company's chief executive officer, Wellington Makamure.

The parastatal is currently working on the new equipment it procured from outside the country to create additional capacity. "We are installing CDMA which will enhance our service delivery throughout the country," said TelOne.

Asked to comment on a story published this week suggesting TelOne was pleading with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for foreign currency, Makamure declined to elaborate except to say the central bank has always come to parastatals' assistance in their time of need and hoped this good working relationship would continue.

The equipment for the Code Division Multiple Access would cost at least US$15 million, for which the parastatal has already paid a deposit. Last month TelOne unveiled $46 million for its network expansion in Beitbridge in line with developments currently taking place in the border town. TelOne said $22 million of the money would be spent on civil works while $24 million would be used to purchase copper cables.

Surveys for the copper cable network expansion for Beitbridge town and surrounding suburbs have been completed and a tender for civil works is being prepared. The project is expected to be complete by year end.

The Herald