Telecel sweats over licence fees

By Staff reporter | 06 Jun 2019 at 13:53hrs
Telecel Zimbabwe is sweating over license fees after failing to adhere to the prescribed threshold as the telcos regulator piles pressure on the country's third largest mobile network operator.

In 2013, Telecel entered into an agreement with the government in which the mobile network operator would pay for its US$137.5m license fees in instalments until 2020.

It has failed to adhere to the payment plan drawing the ire of the government.

Telecel is reportedly struggling to keep up with the repayments on its USD137.5 million licence renewal fee, which it is paying in instalments until December 2020.

A report says that it owes US$25 million after missing the repayments which were due at end-2017 and in June 2018. The report suggests that the Zimbabwe government, which owns 60% of Telecel, could use the situation to dilute the 40% interest held by co-owner Empowerment Corporation.

The government is known to be seeking full control of Telecel so that it can then be sold off to a new investor.

Licence renewal fees for Zimbabwe's three cellcos were due in 2013. Privately-owned Econet Wireless is thought to have paid the US$137.5 million in full, while both state-backed operators, Telecel and NetOne, were offered instalment plans.

Telecel now controls less than 10% of the overall mobile market in subscriber terms, with its customer base falling steadily over the past few years.