Telecel dials MedAssist for medical aid scheme

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NDAMU SANDU

Telecel Zimbabwe will partner with a local company in a network-linked medical aid scheme for its subscribers as the country’s third largest mobile network operator seeks alternative revenue streams in the wake of declining voice revenue.

According to a project summary seen by Business Times, Hensley Chamboko’s MedAssist seeks to write up all Telecel subscribers to its Yellow package and hence “provide basic medical aid to Telecel subscribers”. Telecel would then market the product as an innovation among its offering and style it TeleMed.

“The network will collect a basic subscription from all its subscribers at a rate of not less than $3 per month on a commission basis,” it said adding that Telecel would benefit from the increase of subscribers arising from the innovative medical aid product. “

…Telecel will receive a commission of 5% of gross proceeds; the net collected is remitted to the medical scheme as membership subscriptions. Telecel will also be allocated a seat on the board of trustees that oversee the investment activities of TeleMed subscriptions.”

MedAssist will utilise its infrastructure to ensure service delivery and roll out MedAssist network clinics for dedicated use by TeleMed subscribers nationwide.

It says Telecel “will agree and execute a service level agreement” with MedAssist and commence deductions of the monthly subscriptions on a weekly basis of $0,75 while remitting to MedAssist weekly in arrears. It will provide administration services to the subscribed members, including the verification and service provider settling mechanism. Of the 1,4 million Telecel subscribers, MedAssist projects to retain 75% ($1 million) monthly.

Chamboko told Business Times his company and Telecel were “working on a particular product which we are not yet ready to be known to the public”.

In the 11 months of 2018, Telecel’s revenue at $42,6 million was 20 percent below target attributed to funding constraints which has hamstrung the operator from achieving its budget targets.

The mobile network operator said the anticipated $5 million from a local commercial bank did not materialise as Telecel accessed $1,5 million. It said the reduced level of funding from local banks and resultant delay in roll-out of additional sites led to a reduction in the planned subscriber intake and related lower revenues.

“Further the ability to compete with Econet and NetOne is significantly handicapped due to huge infrastructure and capacit deficiencies and service offering and therefore lower value proposition in entirety,” Telecel said.

“Telecel is lagging behind on network coverage with 656 2G sites, 408 3G and 17 LTE sites compared to Econet with 2501 2G, 1545 3G and 647 LTE sites and NetOne 1681 2G, 824 3G and 291 LTE.”