Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL) has been fined by the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) for the late submission of its licence renewal application, reports the Lesotho Times. ETL’s 20-year operating licence is set to expire in October 2021, with the firm required to file the renewal application two years prior that date. The operator has been given until the end of December 2020 to pay the LSL1.5 million (USD90,840) fine.
Elaborating further, the LCA’s CEO ‘Mamarame Matela stated: ‘Econet was unable to submit its application for renewal of its licence as expected on 11 October 2019. There is a requirement in terms of the rules for a licensee to submit its application two years before the end of the existing licence. Econet subsequently applied for condonation that it be allowed to submit its application late and after lengthy deliberations, it was allowed to do so by the LCA board on condition it pay a penalty of LSL1.5 million by the end of December 2020. Econet was also unable to submit its audited financial statements in terms of the conditions of its licence 90 days after the end of its financial year, which ended in February 2020. The matter is still before the authority.’
Ms Matela also revealed that the LCA plans to open up the sector to allow other operators to compete with ETL and its sole rival Vodacom Tanzania, adding that parliament is currently finalising legislation to support a new licensing regime.