Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates


Government to Telecel: Transfer shareholding to locals first to renew license

Telecel Zimbabwe Headquarters HarareThe government of Zimbabwe has told Telecel Zimbabwe to sort out its long pending shareholding issues first, before they can be eligible for their mobile network license renewal. The announcement was made along with the announcement of the new license fees that have already been put in place. Telecel’s 15 year license, which they got back in 1998, is now due for renewal.

Telecel’s mobile phone licence will not be renewed until it had addressed its shareholding anomaly, the minister of Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development, Nicholas Goche, told the government owned Herald newspaper yesterday.

Telecel is owned 60% by Egypt based Orascom Telecom, and 40% by the Empowerment Corporation, a local coalition of business people. That shareholding, Goche says, need to go back to the pre year 2,000 configuration when the Empowerment Corporation own 60% and Orascom 40%.

“They must go back to the original position of 60% – 40% with the Empowerment Corporation. Once they meet that position, there will be no problem. The pressure is on them. If they don’t do that, I will not renew their licence. The ball is in their court” said Goche yesterday.

Orascom has been pressured for a while now to comply with Zimbabwe’s Indigenisation law which requires that indigenous Zimbabweans own 51% percent of a locally registered firm. The government’s position is therefore likely not a surprise to Orascom and its Russian parent company, VimpelCom. Vimpelcom itself indicated last year in October that the were keen to sell off Telecel Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s has 3 licensed mobile network operators, Telecel, Econet, and government owned NetOne.According to the last subscriber stats released by telecoms regulator, POTRAZ, Econet has about 64% of the mobile subscriber market share with 8 million subscribers. Telecel is the second largest with about 2.6 million,and NetOne is slightly behind with 2 million subscribers.

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9 thoughts on “Government to Telecel: Transfer shareholding to locals first to renew license

  1. Ahh this indigenisation is silly…and not becuase its kinda like reverse racism but because any sneaky cooking of the books can make it seem like it is now 51/49 when in fact we all know who the real people in control are. But unfortunately this will then give companies excuses to charge us more, provide inefficient services etc as they’ll just say we’re trying to adjust to indigenisation.

  2. There are things that seem NOT to add up here!!! How do they buy the shares in the original 60/40 share structure when everyone is financially groaning or some have stashes of hidden diamond dimes, some call Telecel to be a cash cow but we all wonder their EBITDA figures and the general challenging trading environment. With the desired share structures who will foot the bills for the 20yr licence and with NetOne as one of the other competitors how much tax are they paying to the ficus when they are looking for cheaper funds for the 76million fibre optic ventures or they are hoping someone somewhere will blink first and forke out this money???

  3. Zimbabwe has 4 licensed GSM Econet, Netone, Telecel, Telone and has 3 licensed MNO Telecel, Econet NetOne!!! So whats the difference between licensed GSM and MNO?

        1. please give the 11% share to telecel employees, they pay it off with the pension fund

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