Zimbabwe’s state-owned fixed line operator TelOne risks losing its stake in the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) due to an outstanding debt of USD10 million, which could have knock-on effects for international connectivity in the country. WIOCC acts as a regional wholesale provider, offering connections to international cable systems such as the Eastern Africa Submarine System (EASSy), the West Coast Cable System (WACS), the Europe-India Gateway (EIG), SAT 3, SEACOM and SEA-ME-WE 3. TelOne has a stake in WIOCC along with 13 other telcos.
TelOne’s Managing Director, Chipo Mtasa, is quoted by TechZim as saying: ‘On WIOCC, definitely our shareholding is at risk. We have had different threats that have come through. And these are issues that we have alerted [the] authorities [about]. We actually risk losing the shareholding if we don’t service the debt.’ The struggling telco has approached the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for help to find funding for the loan repayments.