Alfred Marisa, director general of Zimbabwean telecom regulator the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), has reportedly confirmed that the operating licence of state-owned cellco NetOne is due for renewal in 2017, rather than June 2014. According to the Financial Gazette, rival operators have accused the watchdog of favouring NetOne with preferential treatment; the concession was initially extended until 2016 amid ’unexplained circumstances’, and has now been extended until 2017. Critics have suggested that the move has been designed to exempt NetOne from paying its licence fee.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in June 2013 the government raised the country’s mobile licence fees by 37%, to USD137 million from the USD100 million previously paid by operators, while also extending the duration of the concessions from 15 years to 20 years. According to the updated pricing model, the operators also have to pay an annual licence fee of 2% of their audited annual gross revenue, while contributing 0.5% of the audited annual gross turnover to the Universal Services Fund (USF). Further, the operators have to pay frequency spectrum allocation fees in accordance with their requirements.