Zimbabwe’s telecoms regulator, POTRAZ, has issued a press statement dismissing, as false, repeated allegations that the local telecoms industry doesn’t have a level playing field.
Without mentioning any names, POTRAZ singled out the “persistent utterances by one of our operators” that some operators have not renewed their licences.
According to POTRAZ;
- There is a process for licence renewal and no operator is exempt from paying license fees.
- Of the four telecoms operators (Econet, NetOne, Telecel, TelOne) two (Econet and Telecel) renewed their licences according to the terms of their licensing agreements.
- The other two operators are still operating using licences that haven’t expired but will be required to renew them when the time comes.
The unnamed operator that’s being called out for making false statements is Econet Wireless, the country’s largest mobile telecoms operator.
Econet is a listed company and of the four licensed mobile operators. It also happens to be the only operator that is not owned by the government.
In the past Econet has repeatedly called out POTRAZ for the lack of transparency on how the other mobile operators, especially Telecel and NetOne, have been treated by POTRAZ regarding the payment of licence fees.
It has also accused POTRAZ of destabilising the telecoms sector and has also had a standoff with the regulator and the government regarding proposals for shared infrastructure.
This friction has also taken a litigious nature. At the start of the year, Econet sued POTRAZ for $132 million seeking compensation for revenues lost due to tariff adjustments, as well as clarity on the opaque nature of the Universal Service Fund.
POTRAZ’s latest statement hasn’t addressed all of the issues that Econet has brought up in the past but has instead focused solely on the issue of licence renewal.