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NetOne is now a danger to life and security!

02 Jan 2024 at 17:54hrs | Views
I am one of those who have been faithful subscribers to Zimbabwe's second largest mobile network operator (MNO) NetOne.

Over the years, I have become endeared to the state-owned entity, in spite of the company having its fair share of controversy.

Since its inception in 1996, NetOne has managed to make major inroads into the Zimbabwe market - being the first to cover the country's remote areas.

In addition, its tariffs have always been a bit lower than Econet (Zimbabwe's largest MNO).

These are the reasons I remained attached and loyal to NetOne for all these years.

However, graft and nefarious activities have never been far behind.

In 2020, the then CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Lazarus Muchenje and six other executives were fingered in a US$2.2 million scandal.

This was allegedly related to an interconnect agreement with US-headquartered Bankai International.

Before that, in 2015, there were corruption accusations leveled against then CEO Reward Kangai and other senior management.

Even then information and communications technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira's name was dragged into these issues.

An inventory revealed that the company was prejudiced millions of US dollars through dubious procurement of both hardware and software equipment.

It was claimed that there were some reconciliation challenges in transactions between NetOne and critical foreign suppliers, such as Nokia Siemens, Gemalto, Convergys, Technotree, and Huawei.

The suppliers were reflecting higher balances owing than NetOne recorded - posing a real risk of double payments, or paying for services not rendered, or products not delivered.

There were recommendations for investigations into contracts to build base stations awarded to, amongst others, Masimba, Bopela, and Essar, who were supposedly paid in advance.

It was also revealed that NetOne was paying its fuel costs to Redan based on invoices instead of actual consumption.

During reconciliation, it emerged that the mobile operator received a fuel invoice of about US$250 000 from Redan when its actual consumption was only about US$90 000.

According to a report, NetOne was owed US$54 million - and this figure included US$11,2 million owed by Firstel Cellular, a service provider contracted by NetOne to handle the signing up of post-paid subscribers.

Firstel was owned by senior NetOne management, including Kangai.

I could go on and on chronicling all the known dirty linen in the NetOne house - including employees defrauding the company of millions of dollars worth of airtime.

Nonetheless, that would require a booklet of sorts.

This brings me to my greatest concern over NetOne.

It has become a huge danger to life and personal security.

Why do I make such shocking allegations?

Well, for whatever reason, the quality of service delivered by the company has majorly gone down the drain over the past year.

It has become more the norm for subscribers finding themselves with deplorable network coverage or without anything at all.

As I am writing this article, NetOne network is touch and go.

In fact, two days ago, it completely disappeared for an entire night until afternoon the next day.

This has been the case over the past months.

That is when the frightening thought hit me!

What is to happen if an emergency is to arise?

How are we to call the relevant authorities or assistance - such as the police, ambulance, or fire brigade - in the absence of any network?

Would we not possibly all perish simply because our 'favorite' mobile network was down?

That is a real risk that most of those subscribed to NetOne now face.

A robber could be busy breaking into your house, or a fire raging through your home, or a family member critically sick - yet totally helpless since you will be unable to make that all-important phone call for help.

If that thought does not fill you with dread, then I do not know what will.

I will not even bother going into how our work is being adversely affected, as most of what we do requires a steady, reliable internet connection.

Honestly, I am not exactly sure what is taking place at NetOne - but the bottom line is that this company is now a serious threat to our personal safety and a liability to our work.

Could this be a result of repeated scandals?

As we have already seen, the entity has been dogged by some of the most unbelievable corruption.

Recently, NetOne informed us that they were undergoing a major system upgrade that would 'significantly improve service' by the end of year.

Well, guess what? Today is the end of year!

Yet, network quality is still as horrendous as before.

What really happened with the supposed system upgrade?

Was it ever carried out, or did someone reap big from underhand activities?

One never knows: what with NetOne's tainted history - where the company paid for services that were either never provided or were below standard.

All we know as subscribers is that we are being prejudiced our hard-earned monies - after purchasing expensive monthly data bundles that we end up seldom using.

Not only that, but in the event of an emergency, we may fail to access desperately needed assistance.

There is something definitely going on at NetOne, and it is time this was exposed.

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email:, or visit website:

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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