Zimbabwe: Telecel Shut Down


The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) yesterday cancelled Telecel Zimbabwe's licence as a mobile network provider, giving it 30 days to wind down operations.Potraz said Telecel had failed to comply with licensing and indigenisation requirements.

The regulator has given Telecel a special licence allowing the company to operate under the same terms and conditions as a licensed operator only for 30 days, a period which will allow the company to, among other things, facilitate the migration of subscribers from Telecel to either Econet or NetOne.

The network operator is not allowed to register new subscribers, neither will it be permitted to seek additional or new resources to offer national cellular telecommunications services.

The mobile company is also required to notify the general public of the cancellation of its licence and to begin the process of decommissioning its telecommunications equipment which has to be completed within 60 days.

Telecel can appeal to the Minister of Information Communication Technology against the decision.

Yesterday, the company appeared determined to fight, insisting that Potraz's decision was "unwarranted".

"This measure is unfair and unwarranted. Telecel has made every effort to comply with all legal and governmental requirements in Zimbabwe, and objects to this treatment in the strongest terms," the company said in a statement.

"Telecel and its global shareholders are taking immediate action both locally and internationally to challenge this decision. Telecel would like to assure its customers and stakeholders that it will take all possible steps to maintain the full range of its services throughout this process.

"We thank all our valued customers and partners for their on-going support. Your welfare is of the utmost importance and priority to us and we will continue to act in the interests of Zimbabwe and its people."

Telecel has for 13 years failed to regularise its shareholding structure as required by law and has been operating without a licence.

In its order dated April 13, but only made available yesterday, Potraz said: "Having regard to the provisions of the Act, Telecel licence conditions, persistent compliance default, all relevant evidence and the submissions made by Telecel Zimbabwe Limited, Potraz hereby makes the following Order in the exercise of its powers under the Act.

"Telecel's licence to provide National Cellular Telecommunications Services is hereby cancelled with effect from the date of delivery of this order."

The effect of the cancellation means that the radio frequency allocated to Telecel will also be withdrawn.
Source: The Herald 30 April 2015