from DANAI MWARUMBA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE – TELECEL Zimbabwe, the country’s third largest mobile network operator, has refuted reports it is on the brink of collapse.
It nonetheless conceded facing some challenges “like all other local organisations” amid reports workers had not been paid.
Telecel stated a host of factors, both macro and micro economic, particularly limited funding for the company over a long period of time, in the face of challenging economic conditions in Zimbabwe were affecting its operations.
Specifically, rapid depreciation of the local currency and the levels of tariffs increases approved, which continue to lag behind inflation, have affected the ability to meet the foreign currency denominated obligations, especially spares for equipment and Service Level Agreements and support, Telecel stated.
It said its main switching centres are in the industrial area and had been subjected to prolonged power outages which had resulted in the company’s technology operating costs ballooning due to the use of alternative power, particularly diesel.
The company stated it was in advanced discussions with the power authorities and Government officials in the Ministry of Energy to ensure a dedicated power line to the switching centres, in addition to investing in alternative power solutions such solar batteries for its base stations.
“The Telecel board and shareholders are aware of the ongoing challenges,” Telecel stated.
It said plans were underway to address the issue of recapitalisation and in this regard, a five-year strategic plan has already been formulated and adopted.
“The finalisation of all outstanding financial statements is on course and this will open avenues for new funding from financial institutions,” it stated.
Government owns 60 percent of Telecel, which has some 1 million subscribers.
– CAJ News