Orascom Telecom have ceased their fence sitting ways with Telecel Zimbabwe in a big way. The Independent reported on Friday that the company will pump in $70 million into Telecel Zimbabwe. This move is very significant for the company beyond monetary value as Vimpelcom (Orascom’s parent) has made a commitment to channel its global resources for the benefit of the local unit.
The paper quoted Orascom’s Group CEO for Africa Vincenzo Nesci as stating that; “The US$70 million investment is expected to cover expansion and upgrading of both voice and data services to ensure Telecel’s clients are able to access a fuller range of mobile communications services in line with worldwide developments.”
Telecel International directors held a meeting last month to determine the future of the Zimbabwe unit, prior to this meeting we published a story touching on the operator’s history and possible routes it would take. Zimbabwe’s mobile sector is now fully on course to experience a major shakeup in 2012 as Netone is on record as having identified a willing investor with a big war chest and enough experience to raise it from its laggard position locally.
All this is happening while Econet Wireless, the country’s biggest mobile operator and near monopoly has begun to consolidate its pricing regime in line with best business practices. It has slashed its pricing for devices, Ecocash, and etxt among others. We expect more of this if the company is to survive an onslaught in which Telecel Zimbabwe fully realises its potential and Netone is snapped up by “a prominent Pan African Telecommunications partner”.
All things being equal , the shakeup ahead will benefit consumers as the rules of engagement shift from access to quality. Number portability and network quality tests by the regulator will make this more interesting as has been the case in Uganda and Kenya. There is light at the end of the tunnel after all…