Telecel granted provisional order to continue operations

8 May 2015

Telecel Zimbabwe, whose operating licence was annulled in April 2015 over non-compliance with the country’s regulations, has been granted a provisional order to continue operating pending the settlement of the dispute, AllAfrica reports. The urgent application was granted by High Court Judge Nicholas Mathonsi, after Telecel Zimbabwe approached the court seeking an interim order reinstating its permit. The company also wanted to interdict Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) from interfering with its operations.

Telecel, a 60% subsidiary of Russian telecoms group Vimpelcom, has been under fire for failing to comply with indigenisation laws which require at least 51% local ownership, and has also been criticised for its failure to pay off an USD137.5 million licence fee owing since August 2013. The cellco did forge an agreement with POTRAZ under which it was able to pay for the licence in instalments, but the government ruled that POTRAZ had no authority to agree to such a deal and cancelled the arrangement in February this year. POTRAZ went ahead and annulled Telecel’s operating concession on 28 April, giving it 30 days to wind down its services, though the cellco was told it could appeal the decision via the ministry.