NetOne says it paid US$4 million towards its licence, negotiated terms for the remainder

Nigel Gambanga Avatar
NetOne Kopje Plaza Harare, Zimbabwean telecoms, Zimbabwean parastatals, MNOs, African telecoms, debt OneMoney

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.


  1. Macd Chip

    This is what Mutandiro said in the same hearing last year:

    ”….We are transforming the business from being network-centric to customer centric and we are now seeing the fruits. We anticipate a second half recovery which will drive our revenues and hopefully by year end we will declare a dividend to the shareholder,” he said.


    Giving oral evidence before a Parliamentary Committee on Information Communication and Technology, on Monday, NetOne chief finance officer, Sibusisiwe Ndlovu, said the revenue was impacted on by high overheads as well as legacy issues.

    So nothing in there indicated that NetOne was paying any license fees, an issue they would have happily sing about as an excuse for not making any profit.

    Its a shame that these Parliamentary Committee are just there for window dressing of driving a political agenta because if they have any shred of moral they would have glanced any previous meetings they had previous meetings records and call upon Mutandiro.

    Im also wondering if Nigel was sweetened to ignore facts and tasked to drive a certain path. A quick check at previous techzim stories and cross reference with Parliamentary Committee, the truth is there for all to see.

  2. citizen

    4m out of 137m? Guys this in so unfair. If it was Econet dai yakatovharwa but Netone or Telecel can do what they want. Econet paid 137m and netone pays 4m, Telecel i remember paid only 10m but potraz does nothing about it. There is no point in arguing about whether the playing field is equal or not because in this case the words level playing field don’t even exist

    1. Macd Chip

      That is if they paid that at all!

  3. Mercy

    Netone has advanced like our Country! Netone had the monopoly when they launched during the World Solar Summit in September 1996. 1996 and look how far they have progressed since? Just shows…..

  4. Richard

    The USD137 million is too much for telecommunication firms. It is a burden to firms. Telecel itself may not be worth that amount. For starters i think Econet itself should have tried to negotiate for payment terms for the licence. Now that other firms are negotiating Econet now feels cheated. It would have been a different issue now if Econet had been denied payment terms and other operators had been entertained. All that is left for us is speculation. I understand Econet itself did not pay the full amount but a significant amount of it was offset by the interconnection fees that NetOne and TelOne owed to it that time.

  5. sigau

    If they have paid 4m since 2013 , then even 10 years is not enough for them to pay for the licence.This is just so unfair and Econet is supposed to price its products the same when clearly the operating costs are not the same by such a staggering amount.Surrender the licence and let those who are competent take over

  6. techgirlzw

    How is this even news to brag about lol This is such a joke, the license costs 137.5 million and they have only paid 4million! Where are they gonna get the money to pay the other 128 million when they are running at a loss. Seems Netone is running out of ideas and is now getting desperate. I doubt they will be in the market in a years time.

    1. Lil Kitty

      Say “Eat my puss”

  7. simba

    Why is it that Econet had to pay the full license fee of 137.5 million up front and yet Netone gets to put in only 4 million. It’s funny how POTRAZ claims to want to create a “level playing field” and yet they let this type of foolishness happen.

  8. arsenalfan7432

    Netone wants to pay the rest of their license fee over 10years? These guys won’t even be around in the next 10 months! It is clear Netone is in bed with the regulator. This is a clear Zuma/Gupta relationship.

  9. Timothy

    Is Netone even worth 137 million dollars?? LOL If POTRAZ thinks they will pay that money back they are fooling themselves. I think POTRAZ needs to put their foot down and say – pay at least 70% of the fee otherwise we close down your operations. Once you pay you can resume business. Then I think they will really feel the pain!

  10. Sara

    Is there even proof that Netone paid the 4million????
    I doubt it…………..

  11. ubtvuv

    Econet kwa’kuseri !!!

  12. Sagitarr

    The “level playing field” is a mantra from Zanu PF allied pundits within the govt & parastatals. Just like in politics, it doesn’t exist anywhere else in our country. Why does the govt insist on licence fees that are so high that their parastatals can’t even afford them? Is this top ranking stupidity, greed or plain ignorance? What formula was applied in coming up with the licence fee? Ladies & gents when you next read about POTRAZ, NetOne and Telecel take that “news” with a huge chunk of salt!!

  13. Sharia

    The bulk of money owed to NetOne is by Zanu PF politicians and their so-called “businesses” which also don’t pay salaries, rent, rates or even electricity. If you extrapolate this, that’s exactly mirrored by national “inability” to service the very same tariffs. Just check the news (from credible sources, not “national” or “official” channels)…the centre can no longer hold!!

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