NetOne was the first mobile network to operate in Zimbabwe, with zero subscribers rising slowly to become the first ever alternative mode of communication to TelOne, they also broke the ice to introduce One Wallet, the first ever mobile money service to be used in Zimbabwe.
However odds never seemed to favour them, after breaking the ice in all these revolutionary technologies, NetOne for a long time has been last, With the least subscribed mobile network, before the downfall of Telecel due to government negligence.
One always wonders what really went wrong with NetOne and how best could be the awakening giant be positioned so that it takes back its position in the market.
Top Government officials have been accused of selling off confidential projects data from the state owned mobile network operator NetOne to rival operators.
The same allegations have been raised against some employees, but these are yet to substantiated.
Honorable Charlton Hwende said ” These parastatals are not realising their full potential because there is a lot of political interference”. This interference has been deemed to be a major barrier in the telecommunications sector and this issue was addressed at the recently held ICT Parliamentary Portfolio Committee.
Former NetOne Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Reward Kangai revealed last week that “the second largest mobile network operator was losing out due to recklessness by state procurement board officials who leak confidential data to competitors.”
“Some of the government officials who work in the public procurement offices are linked to private mobile network operators. By commission in those offices, they are expected to make favorable decisions beneficial to NetOne but contrarily they were selling information to private players” said Kangai.
“Talking about sellouts in the government’s public procurement offices, l will tell you a number of instances where NetOne will come up with special project but because we have to go through the State Procurement Board, our critical data fell into the wrong hands and it ended up in the hands of our competitors,” he added.
Kangai further noted that since private operators do not need to go through bureaucratic tendering process like NetOne, they are always quick to mobilize resources and launch most of NetOne’s planned projects.
NetOne is obliged to meet the mandatory rule which enforces the parastatal to provide applications for approval of its special projects to the now Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ), the bureaucratic process that private players now manipulate to their advantage.
Praz has not been a beneficial instrument to state owned enterprises, infact it has been a known tool to fatten the pockets of those in charge, while ultimately killing progress with their rather useless bureaucratic process meant to safeguard the same enterprises they are destroying.