NetOne, Zimbabwe’s second largest mobile network operator (MNO) and one of the country’s state-owned telecoms providers has paid US$4 million towards its licence and negotiated a payment plan for the balance.
This information was shared by NetOne’s Chief Executive Officer, Brian Mutandiro, in an evidentiary hearing with the Parliamentary Committee for ICT. Mutandiro was asked by the committee if NetOne had met its obligations.
According to Mutandiro, NetOne has been paying its share of annual levies which include the Universal Services Fund. Out of the US$137.5 million that is required for a mobile telecoms licence, NetOne paid US$4 million as a deposit. It then negotiated for the balance to be paid over a 10 year period.
NetOne’s statement comes on the same day that Econet Wireless, the country’s only privately owned mobile operator and the largest MNO also raised the issue of other MNOs’ non-payments of licence fees while addressing the same committee. Econet has always argued that this is an example of an unfair playing field created by the regulator POTRAZ.
Econet was the only operator to meet the full US$137.5 million requirement for licence renewals in 2013 while Telecel, the third largest operator also negotiating for a staggered payment plan.