Zimbabwe’s Postal & Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ) has issued state-owned fixed line telco TelOne with the country’s fourth GSM mobile service provider licence, according to a report on AllAfrica.com. POTRAZ deputy director-general Alfred Marisa revealed that the watchdog granted TelOne the concession late last year in response to a request for GSM frequencies from the telco when its 20-year telecoms licence was due to expire. The regulator added that it had not given TelOne fixed timelines to roll out mobile services, in light of its financially challenged status.
The state already owns a GSM operator, NetOne, the smallest of the country’s three cellcos behind Econet and Telecel. NetOne is currently attempting to boost its flagging fortunes under a state-blessed strategy to find a foreign private sector investment partner, with South Africa’s MTN the leading candidate. TelOne has also previously been reported to be in partnership talks with prospective foreign partners, chiefly Telkom South Africa, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, and the addition of a GSM licence could increase the incumbent’s attractiveness as an investment.