Telecel ordered to stop operations as license issue gets out of hand

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A report just published this evening by the government owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), says Telecel has been ordered by the government to stop operations outright. We’ve tried to get in touch with the company, but no response has come so far. We understand though that VimpelCom officials (they hold 60% of the company) are currently in the country.

Apart from the apparent order to cease operations, a new development today is the accusation levelled at the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority that they are compromised and that they overstepped their authority granting Telecel license fee payment concessions.

This latest episode shows the government is prepared to take drastic actions to have the licensing regularised. Of course regularising the license has so far proved to be impossible before the shareholding situation has been resolved.

This getting bad to the point of the order being carried out – that is the network being switched off, albeit temporarily – is ofcourse a high possibility. Our assessment is that, without any solid developments on the other side, the government is not just barking on this one.

Here’s part of the story:

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Government has directed mobile phone operator, Telecel Zimbabwe to stop operating, saying the company has no license and is also not complying with the country’s laws.

The Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Cde Supa Mandiwanzira said Telecel should stop operating after breaching two major principles.

“The position is that Telecel should cease operations and that is the position that has been adopted by cabinet which instructed a committee chaired by Cde Chris Mushowe, who is responsible for certain aspects of POTRAZ, who is the regulator,” said Cde Mandiwanzira.

The mobile operator has been operating without a licence since 2013 and information gathered shows that the regulating body, POTRAZ has been heavily compromised in the matter.

POTRAZ is alleged to have allowed Telecel to operate through an agreement which is not provided for by the law.

According to sources, POTRAZ entered into an agreement with Telecel to pay US$137 million licence fees over seven years.

The initial payment of US$14 million was supposed to be made by August 2013 but Telecel breached it, forcing government to act accordingly.

14 Comments

  1. What will happen to the thousands of jobs? iiiii its hard!!!

  2. admire says:

    mandiwanzira aakufarisa manje. How about the employees n customers?

  3. fiend says:

    Nothing to do with the license.

    Why the urgency now?

    It’s obviously to play into the hands of those whom he’s backing in the shareholding dispute

    1. citizen says:

      Inini, when did econet borrow from the government. it was about time to level the playing field because potraz was always there to shield telecel, a foreign owned company, and was harsh on econet, a locally owned company.

  4. Inini says:

    First Econet borrows the government money then this??? I will switch over to netOne

    1. SoTypMe says:

      Econet borrows the government money? LOL, you are funny!

    2. Ini says:

      The correct word is “lends” not “borrow.” These two are opposites.

      1. nhemwa h says:

        THE words borrows was still good and viable……plus its times the ground is leveled not switching off telecel sudscribers……econet will always short change us as long as we have this situation

        1. drewtainment says:

          econet ddnt borrow, they lent money to the government,kukwereta nekukweretesa zvinhu 2 zvikasiyana baba shandisai shona kana english yanetsa

  5. machakachaka says:

    The law is the law. Subscribers were warned through media reports that Telecel did not have a licence. If one needs a licence to listen to the ZBC rubbish, why should Telecel just operate without a licence? They should be switched off, and sell their infrastructure subscribers to the other two networks that comply with the law. That way jobs will be saved.

  6. machakachaka says:

    The law is the law. Subscribers were warned through media reports that Telecel did not have a licence. If one needs a licence to listen to the ZBC rubbish, why should Telecel just operate without a licence? They should be switched off, and sell their infrastructure and subscribers to the other two networks that comply with the law. That way jobs will be saved.

  7. drewtainment says:

    big up Minister for enforcing the law, since 2013 Telecel benefiting from operating without a license, nw the law has caught up with em

  8. LTMMMMayhem says:

    Telecel operations from the word go were ‘musoro wehwiza sakasimbiswa neeee —–‘ plus working cultures are so different for my poor and fellow countrymen to get absorbed into more ethically run institutions and commercial entities like Econet. Makamba exiled plus did they pay the initial licence in the first place and Brainworks thinks they can run and get international loans to recurrent plus expansions when they have zero credibilities. The 51% local share is non starter as I wonder how they will issue share certificates to the EC maybe by paying Gono’s $trillion bills plus its already severely damaged as the environment for operations in Zimbabwe is very challenging. The epitaph was always enevitable as RIP Telecel Zimbabwe, has always been for sale and non performing like our indegenous financial institutions, welcome to the real world, zvopressa!!!!

  9. Jobs Zimbabwe says:

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