Russian-owned, Amsterdam-based telecoms group Vimpelcom has confirmed that its 51.9% subsidiary Global Telecom Holding is to sell its stake in Telecel International, which in turn holds a 60% interest in the struggling Zimbabwean mobile operator Telecel. As reported by CommsUpdate last week, the stake is being acquired for USD40 million by the state-owned ISP Zarnet. The government is hoping to take full control of Telecel by also buying out 40% shareholder Empowerment Corp (EC), which is a consortium of local investors, though negotiations are said to have stalled due to EC’s valuation of its shares.
Separately, a long-running legal appeal over the fate of the second national operator (SNO) licence in Zimbabwe has finally ended. TeleAccess was awarded the SNO concession by telecoms regulator POTRAZ back in 2003, allowing it to compete with state-backed incumbent TelOne. But when the new operator failed to roll out its networks within the specified time limits its licence was revoked in November 2005, leading to the start of the ten-year legal challenge. Local newspaper The Herald writes that TeleAccess has now lost its appeal against the licence cancellation, and POTRAZ is now free to re-award the SNO concession.