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Telecel ordered to stop operations as license issue gets out of hand

   

A report just published this evening by the government owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), says Telecel has been ordered by the government to stop operations outright. We’ve tried to get in touch with the company, but no response has come so far. We understand though that VimpelCom officials (they hold 60% of the company) are currently in the country.

Apart from the apparent order to cease operations, a new development today is the accusation levelled at the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority that they are compromised and that they overstepped their authority granting Telecel license fee payment concessions.

This latest episode shows the government is prepared to take drastic actions to have the licensing regularised. Of course regularising the license has so far proved to be impossible before the shareholding situation has been resolved.

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This getting bad to the point of the order being carried out – that is the network being switched off, albeit temporarily – is ofcourse a high possibility. Our assessment is that, without any solid developments on the other side, the government is not just barking on this one.

Here’s part of the story:

Government has directed mobile phone operator, Telecel Zimbabwe to stop operating, saying the company has no license and is also not complying with the country’s laws.

The Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Cde Supa Mandiwanzira said Telecel should stop operating after breaching two major principles.

“The position is that Telecel should cease operations and that is the position that has been adopted by cabinet which instructed a committee chaired by Cde Chris Mushowe, who is responsible for certain aspects of POTRAZ, who is the regulator,” said Cde Mandiwanzira.

The mobile operator has been operating without a licence since 2013 and information gathered shows that the regulating body, POTRAZ has been heavily compromised in the matter.

POTRAZ is alleged to have allowed Telecel to operate through an agreement which is not provided for by the law.

According to sources, POTRAZ entered into an agreement with Telecel to pay US$137 million licence fees over seven years.

The initial payment of US$14 million was supposed to be made by August 2013 but Telecel breached it, forcing government to act accordingly.


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