Telecel denies closure rumours

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BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA/JULIA NDLELA
TELECEL Zimbabwe yesterday denied that it was facing closure despite rumours that it had shut down its operations after its subscribers failed to access data services or make voice calls for several days.

Government has a 60% stake in Telecel after its takeover in 2016.

“Telecel is very healthy at the moment, and our licence is still operational. There are no issues concerning debt,” Telecel spokesperson Zitha Dube told NewsDay yesterday.

She said the network challenges being experienced by subscribers were a result of expired software on the main mobile switching controller.

Dube said the software had since been renewed, but the network was still experiencing call rejections.

She said the company was working with tech firm, Huawei, to rectify the network challenges.

In the past, Huawei has threatened to pull out maintenance and servicing support to local telecommunication firms over non-payment of fees for such services.

Currently, Huawei is owed US$123 062 597 by government.

Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) director-general Gift Machengete said he had not received any information in relation to Telecel Zimbabwe shutting down.

“If they had closed or were closing, we would have been notified before that happened, yet, I have not received anything on my desk relating to that,” Machengete said, adding that it was social media fake news.

“What we know is that they have been having technical issues, which is why their network has not been performing well recently. We are monitoring the issue and they are keeping us up to date with their progress in addressing those technical challenges.”

Potraz’s annual reports show declining Telecel revenue and active subscribers.

In 2017, Telecel had 1 646 411 active subscribers, but this fell to 582 570 at the end of the third quarter in 2021.

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