Econet Wireless ‘obliged’ to disconnect Telecel from its network

26 Jul 2013

Zimbabwe’s largest cellco in terms of subscribers Econet Wireless has issued a statement following the complaint lodged by rival Telecel Zimbabwe with the Postal and Telecoms Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) accusing Econet of ‘unfair business practices’. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, a Telecel promotion, which slashed tariffs by nearly 50% across all networks in Zimbabwe, resulted in poor connectivity between the two operators’ networks, prompting Telecel to refer the matter to the POTRAZ. According to a new press release, however, Econet Zimbabwe says that it has ‘no obligation to interconnect with a provider of telecommunications services that is not validly licensed in terms of Section 37 of the Act’, adding that as of July 2013, Telecel was not a holder of such licence.

According to CommsUpdate, the Zimbabwean government declined to renew the operating licence of Telecel Zimbabwe earlier this month, for failing to adhere to the country’s foreign ownership laws. Telecel is currently 60%-owned by Telecel Globe, itself ultimately owned by Russia’s Vimpelcom Group, putting it in breach of the current law which states that 60% of Zimbabwean company shares must be locally owned.