Telecel Zim dismisses “shutting down” rumours

Zimbabwe’s smallest mobile telecommunications company, Telecel Zimbabwe says it is in the business for the long run.

This comes as reports have been circulating that the telecoms firm was facing closure.

“Telecel Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd would like to assure all its stakeholders and customers, that while the Company is facing some challenges, the Company is not at the brink of collapse and continues to offer quality service to its customers,” said the company in a statement today.

Telecel Zimbabwe’s management said the company was facing similar challenges to most firms in the country, and it was not going to fold.

“Like all other local organisations, Telecel Zimbabwe’s operations have been affected by a host of factors, both macro and micro economic, but attributed mainly to limited funding for the company over a long period of time, in the face of challenging economic conditions in Zimbabwe.

“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.

“This limited vendor support has resulted in some network disruptions during the festive season, which have since been rectified. In order to mitigate these challenges, the Company has been on a very aggressive import substitution and local skills transfer,” said the company.

Telecel’s main Switching Centres are in the industrial area and have been subjected to prolonged power outages which have resulted in the Company’s technology operating costs ballooning due to the use of alternative power, particularly diesel, and has in turn affected base station availability in other parts of the country.

The company has also said that it is 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 and in addition the Company is investing in alternative power solutions such Tesla solar batteries for its base stations.

It added:

“The company and other industry stakeholders continue to engage all the relevant authorities to ensure that the tariffs are adjusted in line with the cost movement of other basic operational costs.

“The Telecel Board and Shareholders are aware of the ongoing challenges. Plans are underway to address the issue of recapitalisation and in this regard, a 5 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.

“The company has been making every practical effort to mitigate the effects on staff welfare by continuously reviewing the salaries whilst also keeping the company on its feet and will endeavor to do so to the best of its ability.

“Staff engagement on their welfare and other operational developments will continue to occur. The business continues to focus on ensuring that it offers the most affordable service to its customers in light of the depressed consumer disposable incomes and would like to thank its valued customers for the continued support in the face of these trying operating conditions.”

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende