ADSL prices reduced by half for all SMEs?

Nigel Gambanga Avatar

telone-logoAn amazing and unbelievable deal if I ever heard one myself! – ADSL at half-price for all small and medium scale enterprises in Zimbabwe giving a boost to the vital business subset that’s promoting national economic growth (smiles from startups and ZIMASSET evangelists!).

Sadly nothing like this “special offer” or anything close to it has been proposed by TelOne or anyone else. It’s all wishful thinking really. I couldn’t help but wonder if TelOne has something like this planned, considering the growth targets it has set as it tries to reposition itself in a mobile era.

It has been reported that TelOne, with a current total of 300,000 subscribers, is confident in it’s continued relevance in an increasingly mobile world and is hoping for growth that will be facilitated by niche market opportunities. The operator has a capacity for just under 500,000 fixed line subscribers that it wants to meet.

Not surprisingly this will mean a greater focus on Internet services with a more aggressive ADSL roll-out combined with VSAT services for clients in remote areas. Voice revenue is however still a huge income stream for TelOne, a situation that is undoubtedly precarious due to its obvious limitations.

So if ADSL is a huge part of TelOne’s  “Rally for Relevance” how about throwing special discounts to the SME looking for a phone line and Internet connection? By TelOne’s own admission the significant uptake of ADSL has been from these businesses. This uptake is presumably prompted by the SME’s need for a fixed line to establish identity and an image of stability that growing businesses are always looking for.

The TelOne Internet package on it’s own faces competition from cheaper (and faster) alternatives being offered by other providers. Just think of a $149 per month fibre connection as an alternative to the $245 per month “Platinum Package”. For an SME or startup already keen on aggressively managing expenses the option to take is a bit of a no-brainer.

The Internet service market has options for the subscriber which is very different from the the voice communication monopoly that TelOne enjoyed for a lifetime before the mobile revolution. Smarter pricing and relevant packages are what will keep the operator relevant and facilitate any bump in subscriber totals.

If TeleAccess, despite being denied a fixed operator licence since 2005, is still keen on jumping into fixed telecoms then there is still room for better service delivery that the new operator wants to bring. If TelOne can do that for SMEs, startups, corporates or the individual subscriber they will remain relevant.