Next month marks a painful 1 year of nothing but waiting, anxiety and loads of unanswered questions, for the once fastest growing and second largest mobile network operator in the nation, Telecel Zimbabwe.
Telecel Zimbabwe could have been awarded for its tenacity and managing to retain customer confidence and maintaining its market share after such heavy storms, alas this is not a game but real life and real business where only the fittest survive.
Telecel Zimbabwe lived to fight another day with both the management and employees heavily resisting the order assuring the nation they will fight all the way through using any if not all means possible! After that the rest is history!
Ironically, by or before the same time next month, the minister will have to announce again that they have made the payment that closes the Telecel deal and allow the company to fully function and get it up and running again to full potential.
In an interview with one of Telecel Zimbabwe Executive,
the source said we are not doing much but wait and see, the battle between Vimplecom which was the main shareholder, and government had soured to mad heights last year, causing Vimplecom to assign ZTE to strip some network services, that war seems pretty much suspended and we now wait to see if the deal concludes or not”
The government of Zimbabwe and Vimplecom, had failed to agree over a “sticking clause” which forced the negotiations to drag for over six months, while it seemed the two parties all compromised, serious lack of trust in the deal has caused operational freeze.
Telecel Zimbabwe is currently operating on a minimal scale as they wait to see what happens next, Vimplecom last year had told them to freeze any long term projects and mot huge budgets are directly controlled or approved.
For Vimplecom,it is alleged they started offloading anything disposable early last year in August, with a number of cars being sold, while in the background they were discussing an imminent sale with government. The company was no longer confident of continuing operations amid licence cancellation threats and indigenous compliance issues.
Management has to do nothing but wait! Yes keep waiting till the minister returns to work, next February, this is the same month we will know what the future has for Telecel Zimbabwe deal and executives as well.
The minister has a tough task, the availability of funds to conclude the deal is key before everything. Only $10 million was reported paid so far and Vimplecom is also waiting.
Vimplecom sold its entire 60% of their Telecel International stake for $40 million to government through Zarnet and the remaining 40% is owned by a local consortium, Economic Empowerment, who last year rocked headlines with their own internal squabbles and their flopped $20 million offer to braiworks. Zarnet was rumored to be negotiating the 40% sale but hit a snag when EC reportedly inflated their net worth to a whopping $52 million, more on that after pending investigation.