Zimbabwe’s telecoms regulator the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ) has renewed the operating licence of the country’s third largest cellco in terms of subscribers, Telecel Zimbabwe. In a press release, the watchdog pointed out that the decision was taken after Telecel Zimbabwe adhered to the country’s foreign ownership laws, under which the majority shareholder Telecel Globe, itself ultimately owned by Russia’s Vimpelcom Group, was required to ensure that 60% of the Zimbabwean company’s shares are owned by a local shareholder. According to a local media agency NewsDay, the company has also reportedly squared the first installment of the USD137.5 million licence fee which was owed to POTRAZ.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Telecel Zimbabwe’s mobile concession expired in June 2013 and the company was reportedly in the process of tackling its shareholding woes, as the regulator declined to renew its mobile licence. Local media reports emerged at the time suggesting that Zimbabwe’s local investment group Empowerment Corporation (E Corp) had acquired a further 11% stake in Telecel, thus upping its 40% share to 51%, though neither party has confirmed the deal. E Corp was said to be in negotiations to acquire an additional 9% stake in Telecel, thus raising its enlarged stake above the 60% threshold.