THE ZIMBABWEAN government this week moved to consolidate its control of the mobile telecommunications sector after announcing it had successfully concluded the acquisition of a 60% equity stake in Telecel Zimbabwe, the smallest mobile phone operator in the country in a US$40 million deal.
The government already owns a controlling equity stake in NetOne, the second largest mobile phone operator by subscriber numbers.
Information, Communication, Technology, Postal and Courier Services minister Supa Mandiwanzira on Wednesday announced the conclusion of the takeover of Telecel Zimbabwe in a US$40 million deal.
Post the transaction, government will have management control of Telecel.
The transactions means that government now has entire control of another mobile network operator after NetOne, as well as full ownership of the country’s sole fixed telephone network provider TelOne.
Telecel and NetOne have a combined 48,4% market share of the mobile telephone market, as of June 2016, while listed Econet Wireless Zimbabwe accounts for the balance of 51,6% market share.
Mandiwanzira said government had plans to acquire the remaining 40% equity stake in Telecel from other shareholders in order to have full control of the company.
“Government’s intentions remain to secure 100 % shareholding in Telecel Zimbabwe, in the process sanitising the numerous shareholder-related disputes that have dogged business growth and scared away investors,” the Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services said in a statement on Wednesday.
Government’s announcement came after GTH’s notice VimpelCom Ltd. (VimpelCom), a global provider of telecommunications and digital services headquartered in Amsterdam and serving over 200 million customers, announced that its 51,9% owned subsidiary, GTH, had completed the previously announced sale of Telecel International Ltd to ZARNet (Private) Limited in Zimbabwe for a consideration of US$40 million.
“Telecel International, a 100% owned subsidiary of GTH, owns 60% of Telecel Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd. ZARNet is wholly owned by the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services,” said GTH.-Taurai Mangudhla