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Econet Wireless Statement on Interconnection with Telecel Zimbabwe

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As a part of the ongoing issue between Econet Wireless and Telecel Zimbabwe, the following update has just been posted on Econet’s official Facebook page:

Econet Wireless wishes to state the following regarding interconnection with Telecel Zimbabwe:

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 Econet Wireless was on 10 July 2013, awarded a renewed 20-year licence following the expiry of the 15-year licence issued in 1998. This licence places certain strict conditions on our operations. Clause 5.2.2 of our licence requires us to interconnect only with licensed operators.

This paragraph derives from Section 61 of the Act, which allows a licensed operator to interconnect with another licensed operator.  Section 2 of the Act defines a licensee as a holder of a valid licence issued in terms of section 37 of the Act.  There is no obligation to interconnect with a provider of telecommunications services that is not validly licensed in terms of Section 37 of the Act.

Telecel Zimbabwe is not a holder of a valid licence issued in terms of Section 37 of the Act.  Telecel Zimbabwe was announced as the winner of a tender to operate a mobile telecommunications service in 1996.  The award of the licence to Telecel Zimbabwe was declared to be invalid by a High Court judgment handed down on 31 December 1997.  Telecel Zimbabwe appealed to the Supreme Court, but the appeal was never pursued.  The High Court granted leave for the execution of its judgment pending appeal.  That leave was never challenged in the Supreme Court.  If Telecel Zimbabwe was subsequently issued with a licence, the issue of such a licence was in violation of the High Court Judgment, and of the Telecommunications legislation that applied at the time.

 In any event, as is a matter of public record, the Telecel Zimbabwe licence was subsequently validly terminated.  Assuming the licence issued to Telecel was valid and was not validly terminated, such licence expired on 2 June 2013. As can be confirmed with regulatory authorities, no new licence had been issued in its place.  Therefore, as matters stand, Telecel is not a holder of a valid telecommunications licence issued in terms of section 37 of the Act.

Econet Wireless does not have any legal or moral obligation to interconnect with an unlicensed operator.  In fact, we have a duty to disconnect such an operator.  Econet Wireless has fully met the terms of its new licence, which terms include hugely burdensome financial obligations.  In contrast, Telecel has not been subjected to any such financial obligations. With no such burden upon it, Telecel has been free to deliberately engage in trading practices that have distorted the playing field.

 In the circumstances, Econet Wireless regrets to advise that we are obliged to disconnect Telecel from our network. 


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88 thoughts on “Econet Wireless Statement on Interconnection with Telecel Zimbabwe

  1. Econet is not even ashamed of what it says. if it was acting in accordance with the law, then it was suppose to disconnect all of telecel connection not to allow its subscribers to call telecel whilst not giving the same opportunity for telecel customers to call econet. In fact, if econet is saying its obliged by law to disconnect telecel hence it should be fined for not doing so completely since 2 june 2013.

    1. benny: with the way telecommunications work its only telecel that can stop econet customers from calling telecel. in the same manner Econert disconnected telecel.

  2. Telecel made the blunder of rushing to the press accusing Econet of sabotage and dirtying its name, they should have done a consultation with Econet first mayb they cld hv resolved, now Econet has found a loophole and will use it to their advantage. The press doesnt solve issues it only intensifies issues

  3. I wonder if Econet has also stopped or wont honor the inter connection fees of the calls from it’s network to telecel, also I would have thought if econet felt so strongly why wait for a promotion from telecel in order to act on telecel’s non compliance. Telecel is part of a company much bigger than econet as a group so it’s not really about not paying the licence rather who locally can afford to purchase Telecel shares to comply with indigenisation. Mind you the person at the fore front of the tribulation experienced by econet doesn’t reside in the country but has since left the company to be run by others who now cling onto statements on events they didn’t start.

  4. All things said and done , Telecel will pay up for their license and we await to hear what will be Econet’s next excuse. They dont want competition.I can spill more beans here.But for professional reasons I wont.Any one from Econet dare me in here on their anti-competitive behaviour ?

    1. register fist baba then econet can talk to you as it stands Telecel is just a non entity at law in the telecommunications industry

    2. Econet is the Regulator in this country if you didn’t know. They can disconnect other users, dig up other competitors fiber cable and do all sorts and NO ONE DOES ANYTHING. The story should now read…The Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, ECONET, has disconnected Telecel….

  5. The answer to all these problems is POTRAZ. POTRAZ is that big black 50kg Bulldog with no teeth. Never had teeth and I doubt if they’ll ever grow. ECONET is actually the regulator in this country. How does the regulator sit back and let an operator dictate the law? Ridiculous. And this is not a political issue, but a monopolistic tendency developing in this country. Rot must be stopped.

  6. Read between the lines people. This is not your typical David versus Goliath scenario. Econet know exactly the nature of their rival. Telecel are by no means a small fish network operator. Their parent company Orascom is a bigger company globally than Econet and have probably been bankrolling all these unbelievably cheap promos in order to gain market share. Ever wondered why NetOne seems unable to do similarly aggressive promos (subscriber revenues notwithstanding)? Like most other businesses, Econet are simply taking a strategic decision that serves to protect their interests against a deep-pocketed competitor who always plays the victim game (talk of a wolf in sheep’s clothing) to get ahead. Its called the Wal-Mart loss leader tactic. Things change quickly in this business and market positioning is everything. Econet are well aware that they can wake up to a whole new competitive landscape if they rest on their laurels. While any competition is a good thing, fair competition is better and Econet are well within their rights to act in the manner they have, whatever the moral arguments. This is business, unfortunately.

    1. “a deep-pocketed competitor who always plays the victim game”? I’d like to better understand your comment. Can you list examples of Telecel frequently playing the victim game?

  7. if econet is following the law why aren’t any of the other networks doing the same. and paying 100million+ licence is peanuts for them they can recover that in 6months if they really had 8 million active users. do the math.

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