ZIMBABWE’S second largest mobile phone operator by subscription Telecel Zimbabwe has said it will pay its next instalment for the new registration fees by year-end after the country’s telecoms regulator agreed to the company’s staggered payment plan.
Mobile network operators are expected to pay $137,5 million and the license is for 20 years. It is an increase from the previous figure of $100m for 15 years.
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) renewed Telecel Zimbabwe’s operating licence in August last year after an agreement to pay the licence fee over an agreed period. Telecel received its first operating licence in 1998 which was due for renewal in June last year.
“The next instalment is due to be paid in December 2014 and Telecel is geared to meet this obligation as per the agreed payment plan with government,” said Telecel Zimbabwe general Manager Angeline Vera in a statement.
“The agreed fee for the renewal of the organisation’s licence was indeed set at $137,5 million to cover the next 20 years. Telecel entered into negotiations which resulted in an agreement with the Regulatory Authority together with the then parent Ministry of Transport & Communications and the Ministry of Finance to pay the licence fee over an agreed period with a deposit of $14 million being paid forthwith.”
After the expiry of Telecel Zimbabwe’s licence last year, Econet Wireless terminated interconnection service with Telecel, arguing that the company did not have a valid mobile licence. The standoff resulted in a public outcry triggered by the disruption of service.
Telecel is 60% owned by Telecel Globe and the Empowerment Corporation a local consortium of individuals and groups with 40%.
Telecel Globe is wholly owned by Orascom, which has operations in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America.