Home » Business » Pros and Cons of Shutting Down Telecel

Over the past weeks I have read with interest a number of stories with various headlines expressing opinions by various stakeholders over the pending closure of Telecel.

While Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira has the power to declare that Government is closing down Telecel Zimbabwe for failure to adhere to policy issues, I believe that there is need to look closely at the effects of closing it down.

For one, the company employs thousands of people and it has a subscriber base of 2,5 million people who depend on it for connectivity.

What does its impending closure mean for those active numbers? How about the personal and business contacts impact, what will this mean to almost a quarter of the nation?

This on its own is a major reason that I believe works in favour of keeping Telecel operating. It is also a known fact that the telecommunications sector combined in Zimbabwe is one of the largest tax payer, contributing significantly to the fiscus and therefore closing one of the operators, the second largest mobile services operator for that matter, is like shooting ourselves in the foot.

While Telecel Zimbabwe should never be allowed to operate without a licence, and should stop being a cry baby and measure up, for the same reason, it would also be prudent to point out that besides the new 15-year licence of $137,5 million, Telecel Zimbabwe like any other operator has been contributing towards annual licence fees, spectrum fees, and the Universal Service Fund.

In addition we do not have any single operator who has paid their licence

fee in full. Econet Wireless negotiated for part payment against their interconnection fees owed by NetOne, totalling to $85 million towards their licence.

I am yet to get details of any other payments they made to settle the balance otherwise they are also yet to fully pay up.

NetOne’s 10-year licence is yet to expire and will only be required to pay once the licence is due for renewal in June.

If NetOne fails to pay up then it will face the same fate as Telecel, which I personally think would be setting a wrong precedent. Zimbabwe is currently going through a tough economic turnaround where unemployment has remained a major concern.

Closing Telecel will probably increase our employment figures.

While there are issues to be dealt with especially that of shareholding, there is need to move past this and come up with a solution that takes the company forward. These sensitive issues will need to be seriously analysed before Telecel is shut down.

Communication is a right, whether for business or personal purposes and we should not approach this matter with a closed mind. I appreciate the fact that a

Government committee has already been tasked to look into the matter carefully taking into account the ripple effects of any decision they will come up with.

The writer is the editor for Zimbabwe’s Premiere Technology Magazine, More In depth from www.technomag.co.zw on lt follow us on Tweet at TechnoMagZw follow us on ww.facebook.comtechnomagzw

Source : The Herald