Many of you saw the Masawara press release on Tuesday, and like us, most of you went into looking for who Telerix is. This is because Telerix is not on the list of official POTRAZ licensed Internet Access Providers. We thought it’d be a typical walk in the park verifying this information with the concerned parties. We were wrong.
Despite advising all the people we contacted that we needed the information for a morning article, they just basically either told us they could not answer, the person that could was not available, that they could only answer written question or another variation of “We won’t say yet”.
So, after unanswered emails, several (costly) calls and a door visit that didn’t yield anything, we’ve decided to go right ahead and just tell you what we know.
A summary of the press release first for some background:
Investment firm, Masawara, has bought 50% of Telerix Communications. Telerix is a Zim ISP that has full ownership of a POTRAZ licensed Internet Access Provider (an IAP is like a carrier). Telerix has a 20 year Capacity Purchase Agreement providing for 620Mbps bandwidth with a local long distance dark fibre operator. Telerix posted a $904,000 loss in the six months to 30 June 2010, but held total non-current assets of US$11.3 million in the same period. Maswara is injecting $7 million into Telerix to fund the Capacity Purchase Agreement and develop a 4G network. The release closes with a statement of confidence in the viability a Zim Internet business by Masawara Chief Executive, Shingai Mutasa.
Now, we happen to know that Dandemutande (an IAP owned by a mostly quiet but very formidable ISP called Utande) has a 20 year agreement with PowerTel. Amoung other things the agreement has provisions for the construction of fibre by Dandemutande over existing PowerTel power pylons to Mutare. In exchange for the infrastructure work Dandemutande will get 4 STM-1s from PowerTel for 20 years. STM-1 is basically just a fiber optic network transmission standard providing a bit rate of 155.52 Megabits per second. 4 STM-1s translate to 620Mbps.
For an ISP, it’s strange that the .co.zw Telerix domain is not taken yet. Some good news for Zimbabweans in the domaining business maybe.
We’ll update this story with details if and when Masawara and Dandemutande respond to our emails. In the meantime, if you have more information or have some thoughts on this deal, please share in the comments below.