Zimbabwean fixed line operator TelOne has recovered USD90 million from unpaid service bills through its debt collection campaign and has written off over USD65 million as of 31 December 2013, local newspaper Financial Gazette has reported. TelOne’s CEO Chipo Mutasa has revealed that the company is owed over USD200 million from subscribers who have defaulted on their payment.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, TelOne launched the debt collection campaign in August 2013; Mutasa said at the time that the strategy was crucial for the company to be able to re-finance its operations. Mutasa explained that many of TelOne’s subscribers had not paid their bills since 2009, due to the country’s dollarisation, which left many users with huge bills. The executive also said that, in compliance with a government directive, TelOne wrote off all bills from January 2009, in addition to reducing tariffs from USD0.07 to USD0.05 per minute. In October 2013 the company revealed that accumulated debts of residential customers, amounting to USD80 million, had been cancelled, to reflect the ‘cash-flow challenges currently facing [TelOne’s] clients across the market’.