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Government confirms interest in Telecel

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Zimbabwean Telecoms

It’s been two months since the Minister of ICT, Supa Mandiwanzira, made a presentation to the Parliament of Zimbabwe outlining the reasons behind the cancellation of Telecel Zimbabwe’s operating licence.

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One interest piece of information shared at the time was that Vimpelcom, the majority shareholders in Telecel Zimbabwe, had offered to sell its stake to the Zimbabwean government. Yesterday, in an interview on local radio, the Minister mentioned the same offer, and there has been a report in Newsday citing sources from within the government that are stating how the State has accepted the offer.

On the surface, there is some merit behind such a move. The government gets to bail out a company that has been faced by challenges relating to licences, ownership and meeting the local empowerment regulations that limit foreign ownership. This becomes a definite offer, rather than long winding negotiations with other foreign players.

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Whatever chaos that has existed within the Empowerment Corporation structures that involve control will be put to rest, and Telecel won’t have to operate whilst constantly looking over its shoulder because of licence irregularities. And let’s not forget how this dovetails into that Infrastructure Sharing debate, granting the State even more control over more infrastructure.

However, there are other things that aren’t making sense in all of this.

Why would the government want to control yet another mobile operator when it is failing to profitably manage the one it already owns outright? How would this complement the plans that are already underway to activate the mobile network licence held by another government operator, TelOne?

Then, of course, there’s the one sticky issue – our government isn’t flush right now. Even if this transaction is to be financed by licence payments made by Telecel and any other cheap credit we can secure from our friends in the East, there are a lot of operational and strategic challenges that Telecel will face because of this.

While no official communication has been made by Telecel Zimbabwe regarding this, (or confirmation for that matter.When we spoke to Telecel officials yesterday, they did not confirm any of this) it will be interesting to see how this deal will be executed and its impact on local telecoms.


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12 thoughts on “Government confirms interest in Telecel

  1. this is bad so the government wants to monopolize the entire sector which will no doubt lead to underdevelopment and atrocious service.

  2. So the govt will own two out of the three MNOs and yet they insist that the infrastructure sharing proposal has nothing to do with targeting econets assets.?.I and I wonder?

    1. Correction: Government owning 3 of of 4. MNO You forgo that Tel*One is about to be activated. It’s all making sense now (in a sick way)

  3. This is a disaster coming! Someone somewhere is already ordering new building plans and posh cars from the anticipated Telcel cash flow should the takeover goes ahead.

    Gvt is not new in this area where we would give it benefit of doubt, they have been running telcos to ground and what makes Telcel any different?

    Higher job positions will be given to the ones who shout loudest to the party slogans and as long as the company donate generously to party functions and fund raising, nobody will be fired and telecel will be suck dry

    1. kkkk our beloved former sunshine city, its like someone is trying to count chickens before they hatch. our government is acting like a kangaroo hooping here and there (while launching some ultimate kicks and blows) , thats what we call a capricious government. nxaa clueless minister , now I dont knw what exctly is in his head coz he z skinn both live and nuetral wires at the same time. lets wait and see ,

  4. Government can take up shares ,it does not mean that it has a controlling stake.I think with all the fighting at Telecel and the fear in investor its a considerable move.Look in SA until recently SA government had shares in Telkom,MTN and the recently sold shares in Vodacom.

    1. You may need to re-read. They are interested in the controlling stake owned by Vimplecom.

      People are really not that dumb not to know that Government invests in various businesses & sectors (which isnt the issue at all)

  5. Supa Mandiwanzira behaving as though Government is his private business.

    Instead of focusing on making Net One profitable, he wants to add yet another entity to burden the already-stretched government.

    Somehow he believes dramatic/drastic/impulsive/extreme actions are synonymous with good decision making & success.

    He is quite naive and over-the-top in his direction of the ministry/sector.

  6. Nyambisirwa inoziva zvayo ngwena kukweva jira ichisiya murwere….Now the whole infrastructure sharing emotional debate makes sense… 1. NetOne 2. TelOne Mobile 3. Telecel 4. PowerTel (somehow)…Not a bad portfolio at all

    1. Just like everything in Zim about the gvt, it all looks good on paper! Remember how we all celebrated when diamonds where found and our ministers talking big!!

      Its the same with every gvt organs and ICT is no different. Just big on ideas!!

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