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Orascom team jets in to renew Telecel licence

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A TEAM from Orascom Telecom Company, Telecel Zimbabwe’s parent company, will this week engage Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development officials in a bid to renew the mobile phone operator’s licence this month, a company executive has said.

Telecel, the country’s second largest mobile phone operator, is 60% owned by Telecel Globe and the Empowerment Corporation — a local consortium of individuals and groups — with 40%.

Telecel Globe is wholly owned by Orascom, which has operations in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America.

Company spokesperson Obert Mandimika yesterday confirmed the arrival of the team from Orascom, but could not divulge much.

“We can confirm that representatives from our parent company will be here this week to meet relevant authorities regarding the licence renewal for Telecel Zimbabwe,” said Mandimika.

Following the expiry of the operating licence, the telecoms firm has been a target of indigenisation regulation compelling foreign-owned companies to sell 51% stakes to locals.

Mandimika said efforts were underway to comply with the indigenisation and empowerment regulations.

Government last month hiked mobile phone operators’ licence renewal fees by 37% to $137 million, while the tenure for the same licence was extended to 20 years from 15 years.

In its first quarter performance, Orascom announced that the company was conducting talks over terms and conditions of licence renewal for its Telecel Zimbabwe unit.

It said Telecel Zimbabwe was not part of the company’s consolidated financial results, adding that it represented a very tiny percentage of the group’s total revenues.

The mobile phone company reported that net income before minority interest stood at a loss of $204 million, mainly driven by the adverse impact of foreign exchange losses of $173 million and the impairment of assets held for sale by
$58 million, to reflect the fair value of its operations in the Central African Republic and Burundi. NewsDay

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