Home » Industry » Telecel Says It Invested U.S.$300m and Employ 1,000 Workers

THE country’s second biggest mobile phone operator, Telecel Zimbabwe, has come out fighting after government announced it would revoke the company’s operating licence and liquidate the firm.

In a statement Friday Telecel, which is reportedly controlled by exiled tycoon, James Makamba, said it was “doing everything” to comply with statutory requirements.

“Telecel Zimbabwe has taken the government’s recent announcement on its licensing and shareholding non-compliance, very seriously,” reads part of the statement.

“Our shareholders are engaging with relevant stakeholders and are working closely and tirelessly with all key authorities to find a lasting solution to the issue.”

Government this week announced Telecel had breached the terms of its licence regarding the country’s indigenisation laws as well as its failure to pay licence fees.

Global telecoms company, VimpelCom has a 60 percent shareholding in Telecel, with the balance in the hands of a consortium of rowing locals.

The indigenous investors have been fighting over a plan to sell off their 40 percent interest to local private equity group Brainworks in a development understood to have forced the government to intervene shut down the company.

But management said Friday that the company was committed to the development of Zimbabwe remains unshaken.

“We remain fully committed to Zimbabwe and to working with the government in order to comply with all legal and regulatory requirements within the agreed timeframe.

“Telecel Zimbabwe takes very seriously its legal, financial, operational and social responsibilities.”

Earlier, this week ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira told journalists that cabinet has already approved a plan of action to wind-up the operations of the company that has a subscriber base of over 2 million, second only to industry behemoth Econet.

The government cancelled an arrangement that had allowed the company to continue operating without paying the US$137 million licence renewal fee.

But the company touted its contribution to the economy saying it was a fully-paid up tax payer.

“Telecel serves over 2 million customers in Zimbabwe and is a fully paid-up abiding tax contributor,” management said.

“We have invested an estimated $237million into the country’s mobile infrastructure since inception in 1998. Currently, we employ over 1,000 permanent and contract employees.

“In addition, Telecel contributes $700,000 annually through its on-going CSR program, which is aimed at making a difference in the lives of various Zimbabwean communities.

“We have been, and remain, supportive to the continued development of the country, including ensuring the universal access to mobile communications services by all people at affordable prices.”

Source : New Zimbabwe