State-owned mobile operator NetOne is close to securing the release of the $71 million loan facility from China Exim Bank to construct and upgrade base stations countrywide.
Speaking at the sidelines of the World Technology and Information Society Day held in Murehwa on Thursday last week, NetOne chief executive Mr Lazurus Muchenje said the parastatal was in the final stages of negotiations with the bank.
“We are talking and we will soon receive a purse of $71 million. The funds will be put in the construction and upgrading of base stations around the country.
“We have areas that were having poor connectivity and we are now moving there to connect them to Zimbabwe and the world,” said Mr Muchenje.
He said these were the final stages of a deal that was initiated when President Mnangagwa went to China.
“We are now working on the finer modalities with the bank and once that is done, NetOne will commence the connectivity chapter.
“We expect all this to begin before year-end and we are positive to secure the funds,” he said.
Over the past years, NetOne has installed hundreds of base stations countrywide.
Last year, legislators raised concern on the lack of connectivity in rural parts of Zimbabwe.
They indicated that in some constituencies close to Botswana Mozambique and South Africa relied on network services from these countries.
Information, Communication Technology and Cyber Security Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said the move was part of Government’s efforts to link the Zimbabwean populace with artificial intelligence-based technologies.