Telecel mobile licence expires; the hunt for local shareholder continues

12 Jul 2013

The mobile licence of Zimbabwean cellco Telecel Zimbabwe has expired last month and the company is reportedly trying to tackle its shareholding woes before its renewal, The Herald reports. According to the article, although the company might struggle to obtain USD137 million for the renewal of its mobile licence for 20-year tenure, the more pressing issue is to ensure that 60% of its shares are locally owned. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Telecel was told that it must adhere to regulations governing foreign ownership or face losing its wireless concession. The company is currently 60%-owned by Telecel International, a unit of Orascom of Egypt, which is itself owned by Russia’s Vimpelcom Group. The Communications and Infrastructural Development Minister Nicholas Goche was threatening not to renew Telecel’s licence when it expires in June 2013. Vimpelcom had hoped to resolve the issue by finding a buyer for its entire 60% stake, but has struggled to find an interested local party. Telecel’s communications and brand director Mr Obert Mandimika told The Herald: ‘Our shareholders have advised us that there are several initiatives underway and several meetings have been held over the most recent past with the relevant authorities including the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development.’ The executive however added: ‘Telecel continues to meet all requirements and continues to operate as usual. The process for renewal of Telecel’s licence is underway and we expect this matter to be completed soon.’