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Econet / Telecel interconnection blackout enters 5th day. POTRAZ silent

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lady-phoneIt’s now day 5 since Econet last week severed mobile interconnection with Zimbabwe’s second largest mobile operator, Telecel. Before that, Econet, the largest with more than 8 million subscribers, had been accused by Telecel of throttling voice calls from the network in a bid, they said, to frustrate subscribers into migrating ‘back’ to Econet. Econet didn’t respond to the throttling allegation they responded to a licensing one.

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This is the longest an interconnection standoff has lasted. When a somewhat similar interconnection incident happened last year between Econet and the government owned NetOne, it wasn’t more than a day before Econet were ordered to connect their rival. We expected this to be solved similarly swiftly. Especially considering many more subscribers are affected. But no one seems to be in a hurry to do anything about it.

We expected Telecel to cry foul, but maybe since they really don’t have a telecoms license ‘yet’ they don’t have a strong legal position.

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In the meantime, Telecel is likely bleeding customers and Econet winning them!

We expected the telecoms regulator, POTRAZ, to at least issue a statement of reassurance to subscribers. A “don’t worry, we’re on top of this” statement. Nothing. A response by the Acting Director General, Alfred Marisa last week just said “The Authority has just received information regarding this matter and investigations are now in progress to establish the facts on the ground.” When we called them today, we were referred to the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development for comment on the progress. One of those ‘too political’ issues for POTRAZ to handle maybe? The ministry has not responded yet.

Maybe everyone is too busy with elections to care about interconnection and license politics. Or maybe everyone wants to worry about elections before they discuss licenses.


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9 thoughts on “Econet / Telecel interconnection blackout enters 5th day. POTRAZ silent

  1. My take is that as long as Telecel hasnt renewed their license Econet has no legal obligation to re-connect them.On the other hand Telecel hasnt finished the sorting out of the 60% shares that Orascom holds.This is one condition that they must satisfy before they are granted renewal.

    Both Econet and Telecel consumers have been treated with so much disrespect by both providers as we the subscribers bear the brunt.

    For instance if you are an Econet customer and you run a business and you have clients some of whom are on Telecel you are forced to either get another phone at your own cost and get a Telecel line in order to effect calls to your Telecel contacts.The same applies for a Telecel subscriber with Econet clients.

    Bottom line it is us the subscribers that suffer and where is POTRAZ ? Toothless bull dog .

    Well this is an opportunity for Netone to come up with promo since they can call both sides !

    1. Potraz are probably still busy counting their money paid by Econet, only when that runs out will they have to start chasing Telecel.

      I do agree with NetOne being in a very good, albeit short lived, position to “mediate” and capitalize on the situation.

  2. Perfect example of corporate strategic decision making in Von Neumann & Morgenstein’s Game theory, such a masterpiece

    1. Raymond you are a funny guy? But anyways the customers are suffering on both sides just like Robert Ndlovu said.

      1. I hear you @jamesritala:disqus, although not a solution for everyone, I know people who are on the Telecel 150 package and are using their unlimited data to use mobile/internet calling services i.e. Viber to call people.

  3. Econet is a BULLY bottom line. since when did econet become the inspectors of the telecoms industry? if Telecel is in the wrong it is the responsibility of Potraz to shutdown Telecel. Econet made this move the moment Telecel launched their promotion. the excuse given by econet does not in any way justify the move they made. Econet has no legal obligation to disconect Telecel because they are not licensed, if that was the case, then Net-one is already breaking the law. (They should have also disconnected Telecel). Econet is running scared of competition from Telecel.

  4. It’s immature of Econet to play that card, they are hurting their own customers whilst trying to play the police; Where is POTRAZ in this? Isnt it POTRAZ’s job to be handling such? Who really is Econet to decide on this anyway? That’s just being selfish and disrespectful!

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