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Telecel loses millions through hacking

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TELECEL says it is losing millions of dollars annually through criminal activity where international syndicates are hacking and fraudulently using their network with unlicensed devices.

VENERANDA LANGA
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER

Telecel general manager Angeline Vere told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information Communication Technology that “there is prevalence of traffic refilling where there are unlicensed people who have devices to take traffic from international calls outside the country and bring it to Zimbabwe and transfer it to our network such that it appears as local Telecel calls”.

“These criminals have prejudiced the country and the company and we want laws to be revised to ensure stringent sentences are imposed on them because at the moment, the sentences are level five fines or two years imprisonment and they are only penalised for providing telecommunication services without a licence, but not for possession of fraudulent equipment,” she said.

Vere told the committee, which is chaired by Kuwadzana East legislator Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T), that it was difficult to quantify the exact amount they had lost, but it translated to millions per annum.

She told the committee those new requirements compelling subscribers with lost sim cards to make a police report before they got a replacement were a burden on subscribers.

“Last year, the Posts and Telecommunications Subscribers Regulations were enacted and our areas of concern are requirements that if someone has lost a sim-card they need a police report for that to be replaced. We could replace that sim-card without a police record by just using our computer database,” Vere said.

She said they also experienced delays in registering kiosks for dealers, as well as resistance in sharing of infrastructure.

“We are not advocating a situation whereby someone who has invested a lot in infrastructure must be disadvantaged and carry all people along, but we want a decision that benefits all players and the country. We must not compete on infrastructure but must compete on service provision,” Vere said.

She said Telecel was looking at further investments where they were discussing with banks for a $200 million package which would take them to 5,5 million subscribers from the current five million.

“We appeal to government to remove five cents charged on Telecash and only charge value added tax so that it is affordable to all agents,” Vere said.
Telecash is Telecel’s mobile money transfer service launched this year.

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