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ZIMBABWEAN mobile operator Telecel is reportedly struggling to keep up with the repayments on its USD137.5 million licence renewal fee, which it is paying in instalments until December 2020.
Telecel owes USD25 million after missing the repayments which were due at end-2017 and in June 2018.
The Zimbabwe government, which owns 60% of Telecel, could use the situation to dilute the 40% interest held by co-owner Empowerment Corporation.
The government is known to be seeking full control of Telecel so that it can then be sold off to a new investor.
Licence renewal fees for Zimbabwe’s three cellcos were due in 2013.
Privately-owned Econet Wireless is thought to have paid the USD137.5 million in full, while both state-backed operators, Telecel and NetOne, were offered instalment plans. Telecel now controls less than 10% of the overall mobile market in subscriber terms, with its customer base falling steadily over the past few years. ₪₪