The Minister of ICT, Hon. Supa Mandiwanzira
Is Telecel Zimbabwe really going to be snapped up by the government?
That question should have been easy to answer by now, but the parties involved haven’t been forthcoming with a yes or no. At a press briefing held today by Telecel for the launch of its franchise stores, the operator’s officials couldn’t confirm or deny that directly.
According to Obert Mandimika, Telecel Zimbabwe’s Communications and Branding Director, there has been no official communication regarding this takeover and discussions relating to this are at shareholder and government level.
The Minister of ICT, Supa Mandiwanzira, who made the statement that started all this speculation, has said that he will share information relating to the government’s interest in Telecel tomorrow.
The Minister is set to meet the heads of the various telecoms operators at a breakfast where they will discuss the dynamics relating to the industry, after which he will be open to share the information.
According to Hon. Mandiwanzira,
There’s a big thing that’s going on (regarding Telecel Zimbabwe), but we will discuss it tomorrow.
A lot of speculation has surrounded the future plans relating to the ownership of Telecel, with wrangles within the Empowerment Corporation, a local consortium that owns 40% of the operator, also playing a part in this.
The bigger debate, however, is relating to the 60% that is owned by global telecoms giant VimpelCom. This stake has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny because of issues to do with indigenisation as well as the challenges that Telecel Zimbabwe has faced in meeting its licencing obligations.
It will be interesting to find out how the government intends to execute this deal, along with the implications this move will have on its existing interest in the mobile operator NetOne, as well as fixed operator TelOne that is set to also begin operations as a mobile network.