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Two Million Customers Face Disconnection in Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe's second largest mobile network operator, Telecel, which is 60% owned by Vimpelcom has been shut down by the telecoms regulator.

The regulator, Potraz said that the license had been cancelled, but is giving the company a special 30 day license to handle the migration of customers to rival providers.

The regulator did not say why the license was being revoked, but the two sides have been in dispute for some time over license fees, and the local black-empowerment legislation which should have seen the company reduce its foreign shareholding.

It's reported that Telecel had offered to transfer 11% of its shares to employees to bring its foreign shareholding to below the 50% mark, but this was rejected by the regulator.

The regulator added in its statement that a further 60 days (after switching off) has been given to Telecel Zimbabwe to decommission their telecommunication equipment.

Telecel has 60 days to appeal the move, and if it fails, in addition to the closure of the network, around 1,000 employees face being made redundant.

Telecel had some 2 million customers at the last count.

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Tags: telecel  potraz