Zimbabwe’s TelOne forced to fork out as vandalism disrupts service
Zimbabwe's state-owned telecommunication company, TelOne says it is losing an average of US$1-million every year in infrastructure replacement costs, compensation to subscribers and additional funds as vandalism continues to rise in the Southern African country.
According to the company, in the first quarter of this year there has been 116 cases of vandalism, a 9% increase from the same period last year.
TelOne’s Head, Corporate Communications and Client Experience Melody Harry confirmed the impact of damage to infrastructure has had on the company’s service.
She said it has impacted its delivery system, especially in the semi-urban and rural areas.
“The biggest (impact) to the company from acts of vandalism is the business loss because of disruption to voice and internet services, which also prejudices our valued customers and negatively impacts the reputation of the company,” said Harry.
TelOne compensates all clients who experience downtime as a result of network disruption caused by vandalism.
The telco is preparing to roll out 40 base stations this year, and is spearheading a drive to provide wireless or fibre optic network solutions to replace copper installations that are frequently being targeted by criminals.
“The rolling out of wireless or optic fibre across the country will be less susceptible to vandalism,” said Harry.
The company said it will deploy security guards and systems to protect its premises and collaborate with authorities and other stakeholders to address the problem
"The company also has a reward scheme in place as an incentive to members of the public who provide valuable information that leads to the identification and arrest of suspects,” said Harry, adding that was working with law enforcement to ensure that suspects are charged under the appropriate Act that stipulates a mandatory ten-year term for those found guilty.