Government cancels Telecel licence

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ZIMBABWE has cancelled the licence of its smallest mobile network operator over the company’s alleged failure to settle an outstanding $137,5 million (about R1.6 billion) debt
Minister of Information Communications Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Supa Mandiwanzira, confirmed the cancellation of Telecel’s licence.
“The ICT Ministry is canceling the agreement Telecel made with government to pay the $137,5 million license over time,” said Mandiwanzira.
However, the ZANU (PF)-led government is accused of making concerted efforts to illegally takeover the network’s operations.
The move is widely believed would highlight the country’s reputation of company grabs.
The government owns two cell phone mobile licences for both NetOne and Telecel.
Econet Wireless, the country’s leading mobile network so far remains the only cell phone company to have paid the whopping R1.6 billion licence fee while NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe have not paid any cent except enjoying free frequency.
“This government is full of vultures wanting to reap where they did not sow. This is what is killing our economy,” said an ICT executive.
“If you go into the farms, the same vultures have grabbed houses owned by white people, but at the same time they are failing to till the land and produce high crop yields for profit,” he added.
Vimpelcom, the Dutch-headquartered firm, owns 60 percent of Telecel Zimbabwe Exiled businessman, Dr James Makamba, and politician Jane Mutasa own the remaining stake.
The government’s takeover comes at a time shareholders for Telecel Zimbabwe were jostling for bigger share percentage ownership in the sector dominated by Econet.
Telecel, which until recently was the second biggest operator, has more than 2,2 million subscribers against the country’s total population of 11,4 million subscribers.Advertisement