News today is that Telecel Zimbabwe, the country’s 3rd largest mobile operator has been ordered to shut down by POTRAZ. The operating license of the company has apparently been revoked, following the disagreements they had with the government over the issue of payment of license fees and indigenisation. We have since confirmed from our sources in the industry that this is true.
A statement was released by POTRAZ last night:
The Telecel Zimbabwe licence has been cancelled. The cancellation is
with effect from 28 April 2015.
In order to facilitate the smooth switch of the Telecel Zimbabwe
network as well as ensuring that disruption is minimized, POTRAZ
concurrently issued a special licence to Telecel to continue providing
telecommunications services for a period of 30 days. During this
period, it is expected that Telecel Zimbabwe subscribers switch to
alternative networks and those with credits on the Telecash Mobile
money platform would make good their position.
A further 60 days (after switching off) has been given to Telecel
Zimbabwe to decommission their telecommunication equipment. It should
be underlined that the telecommunication equipment remains Telecel
Zimbabwe’s property. It is up to Telecel Zimbabwe to decide what to do
with the equipment.
In terms of Section 96 of the Postal and Telecommunications Act,
Telecel Zimbabwe may appeal to the Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier
Services should they be aggrieved by the decision of the Authority on
Our sources tell us that the Telecel’s indigenisation proposal, submitted to POTRAZ earlier this month, has been rejected by POTRAZ. The proposal was apparently that Vimpelcom transfer 11% of the company to Zimbabwean employees of the company. On the payment of the license fees, Vimpelcom is said to be up to date now.
Ofcourse, this doesn’t say that Telecel will actually shut down in 30 days. Such orders have happened before, but this is most serious the government has been to date about the Telecel issue. It will likely result in significant changes in ownership of the company. Still, whether the shutdown goes ahead or not, Telecel the business will be affected drastically by this. Subscribers will understandably be apprehensive and an exodus will likely result.
We will be getting more information and posting it here as we get it.
For more on how we got here please read the following: