NetOne confirms talks to sell 49% stake

10 Mar 2011

Zimbabwean state-owned mobile operator NetOne has confirmed that it is currently in talks with South African cellular group MTN and other, unnamed African wireless operators, aiming to attract a strategic buyer for a 49% stake in the GSM-based cellco. Reuters quoted NetOne’s managing director, Reward Kangai, as saying that the government-owned firm expected to reach an agreement during the second quarter of this year. A report from Bloomberg added that the government has given the green light to strategic foreign investment in NetOne, as Kangai confirmed. Hinting that MTN – which has been linked with a move for NetOne several times in the past – remains the favourite, the MD declared that: ‘The investment required by the network points to a global player with operations in many countries.’ The company needs up to USD100 million investment per year to grow its subscriber base from the current 1.3 million and to roll out a 3G network and data services, Kangai said.

Zimbabwe, MTN Group, NetOne