[Zimbabwe] Telecel to expand coverage network, introduce LTE with $200 million government financing
Telecel is set to expand its network coverage and launch LTE following a government brokered $200 million finance deal.
According to the Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services, Supa Mandiwanzira the government of Zimbabwe, 60% majority shareholder, was working closely with Telecel to put finishing touches to the $200 million finance package which will help the network upgrade its infrastructure and introduce new technologies like LTE.
“At this stage, negotiations and discussions are ongoing with financiers for an investment of over USD 200 million to kick-start the Telecel project. More details of this funding will be communicated in due course. This funding will go a long way in ensuring that the Company rolls out new technologies to meet subscriber needs,” said the Minister Mandiwanzira.
The minister also revealed at the same briefing that Telecel was already upgrading the network and that the company was continually improving its network but that the expected capital injection would allow the mobile operator to introduce LTE 4.5G.
“I am aware that the company has already commenced the network upgrades necessary to close the identified and well-known gaps in its service provision and will also be rolling out its 4.5G LTE infrastructure by the third quarter of 2017,” added the Nyanga legislator.
Telecel has had issues around its licensing and shareholding and failure to comply with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act which the minister has said are now resolved following the acquisition of 60% majority shares by the government.
“We are all aware that in the past three or so years, Telecel’s existence was clouded with uncertainty due to issues to do with licensing, shareholding and non-compliance with the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act. This state of affairs led some into questioning and doubting the Company’s future. As a result some of Telecel customers jumped ship during this period of turbulence.
“It is with great pleasure that I stand before you this evening, to announce that Telecel has turned a corner and those issues are well behind the vibrant red brand and to assure you that the Company’s future is bright orange. I am here to proudly declare that the Government, which is the new majority shareholder in Telecel is very keen to support any initiatives that will position the Company as a vibrant, successful and profitable entity,” said the Minister.
The minister also added that the Infrastructure Regulations SI 137 of November 2016 enable infrastructure sharing to limit duplication and gear investment toward product innovation and better customer service in the country and in particular, in underserved and remote areas.
“Telecel supports this Government’s position on infrastructure sharing and even prior to the promulgation of the SI 137 Infrastructure Regulations we were already working with other operators in identifying and sharing infrastructure,” said Telecel CEO, Mrs Angeline Vere on the side-lines of the event.
One of the main products featured prominently at the briefing was MegaBonus. Telecel recently reintroduced MegaBonus during this year’s ZITF, the service gives Telecel prepaid customers 100% voice bonus for all airtime denominations of a $1 or more.