STATE-CONTROLLED telecommunications firm, TelOne, has entered into a partnership with the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) to develop a telecommunications research laboratory.
BY SHARON SIBINDI
Speaking during the launch yesterday, TelOne managing director, Chipo Mtasa said her expectations from the lab was to have new value added services.
“As TelOne, it is our expectations lab that there will be lots of new value added services that were the brain child of the laboratory at Nust. Educational institutions play a pivotal role in this country, in terms of development and investment in education will always be a legacy that surpasses generation. TelOne being a generation company investing in education is not a mistake because we are saying we are investing in our future long after we are gone.
“People have started opting for other services and it’s good because technology has evolved so much that they are other services that have evolved,” she said.
She said TelOne was solely dependent on the voice landline as its source of business.
“The way we had been structured, the way we were making money, it was just out of the voice-the landline. This is why TelOne then says in a few years’ time, we will be dead if we continue to rely on these landlines because it is a dying business in a way because we will not get as much as we did before,” she said.
“So as a team along with the direction from our principles, the shareholder as well as the board, we then said lets transform TelOne so that it’s a converged services operator. Which means you can still do your voice landline but you can have other services which the market desire and are stemming out of the advent of the internet.”
She said TelOne had to reposition itself as an internet service provider of choice.
“We now have internet as a big business arm for TelOne. But bringing in the internet service alone and providing it to all institutions is not going to allow TelOne to do better because anybody else can do that. We notice that the business model will not work to combine just internet and voice,” she said.
“We then saw that we needed to find applications that will allow people to say come to TelOne. That is why TelOne needs to do a bit more research to develop other products so that people can start accessing these products that they want.”
“We then looked and searched around as we only knew the landline business. So to then change and transform to be able to offer those other services, we felt we did not have capability by ourselves. What we also noticed worldwide is that almost every telecommunication company is also looking out to do more research, developing new products and many other things,” she added.
She said as TelOne, they could not do it own their own and they roped in Nust.
“We felt that Nust being the heart of scientific research perhaps technology, it will be an ideal partner,” she said.
Nust pro-vice chancellor, Samson Sibanda said their aspiration as a university was to propagate centres of excellence in the delivery of the university mandate although they faced challenges.
“It is worth celebrating that TelOne has realised that they need to partner us to provide excellence in research and teaching. Theory is one thing and practical is another. Research, teaching and learning becomes useful when the theory is practised, that is through practical’s,” he said.
“It is for that reason that is telecommunications laboratory will go a long way in affording our researchers and scholars opportunities to assimilate knowledge and utilise it. There has been a call for institutions of higher learning to be relevant to society and relevant to the communities that they find themselves in. I trust that this lab will facilitate research that will research that will solve many problems that surround us in this digital and information era.”
He said telecommunications as a sector was growing discipline in Electronic Engineering.
“For this reason, it becomes a whole area of focus for research. Here in comes the necessity of our TelOne-Nust collaboration. For this research to happen, we need researchers. For the researchers to do their work in full, we need material support, we need hardware and the software,” he said.
“In this collaboration therefore, Nust will provide the researchers while TelOne will provide the hardware and software. We are glad that TelOne has contributed in a big way to the hardware.”