Dear Honourable minister, once again, congratulations on the appointment, you have been deputy minister for more than a year and this makes you the most experienced minister ever to be appointed to the ministry.
I am greatly concerned about developments at Telecel Zimbabwe, this used to be Zimbabwe’s fastest-growing mobile network and was brand of pride to many, before unfortunately, some ex-minister threatened to shut down the company, forcing the owners Vimplecom to sell their stake.
The Telecel Zimbabwe story is a very long one that it will probably take us days to share it all but what really matters now and urgently is that this company must work!
Telecel Zimbabwe is not working!
If you think its working then you have been lied to, it’s like an airplane on auto flight waiting for a landing path but there is no free runway.
Unfortunately, someone is fueling this plane while it continuously running in circles before crash landing and the passengers can’t seem to see that they have been in a flight for hours doing circles.
The biggest problem at Telecel is at the cockpit, it has two main pilots one who is telling cabin crew that he owns 40% stake so he will do whatsoever he wants with the plane and the other co-pilot who owns 60% of the stake and he is just watching the minority stakeholder from his seat.
These two co-pilots, who are government with a 60% stake and Empowerment Corporation 40% stake have one thing in common! They are all broke shareholders! Broke shareholders who have nothing to show for but a stake written on a piece of paper with no dividends or capital investment to support their investment.
In fact that piece of paper is yet to be seen, both the EC paper is not in good standing and the government paper of transfer of shares from Vimplecom was never seen, (please look for it) this is another headache that I don’t want to deal with at this moment.
Telecel Zimbabwe has not been significantly capitalized in the past 5 years and all it has seen are cockpits fights. The last upgrade that Telecel saw was in in 2016 when it had Nationwide Network Upgrade.
This company simply needs both the shareholders to start contributing towards their stake or one of them must be simply clever and capitalise the asset and dilute shares of the other and gain control of the cockpit.
the first option has been a dream in a very long pipeline and may never come true because remember they have one thing in common, the power to control but empty purses to capacitate the asset.
The second option here must a complete buy out f the asset where we see the whole stake going toa private new player with the capacity to capitalize and invest int Telecel Zimbabwe for posterity. One of the shareholders need to release the asset to a capitalized investor who then has the power to dilute shares over investments.
Assuming that government completed the transaction with Vimplecom and they now have the majority stake on paper, they have the power to turn around the asset and hence the onus is on the minister turn around this asset.Yes, they have been board appointments, but we always had board members, the lack of them or presence does not solve the problem at Telecel, in fact the more board members they have the more the company is bleeding from board members fees.
Telecel Zimbabwe is surviving on generating own revenue through airtime sales yet it has the least infrastructure in terms of active base stations, 4G base stations and coverage, and subscribers. Being innovative under such conditions is impossible for management because the asset is currently crush landing and no one is hitting the SOS button.
Telecel has 4g in main cities alone, anywhere else it has 3g and still expected to be competitive. Telecel is lagging behind on network coverage with 656 2G sites, 408 3G sites and 17 LTE sites compared to Econet with 2501 2G, 1545 3G, and 647 LTE sites and NetOne : 1681 2g, 824 3G and 291 LTE.
So far Telelcel Zimbabwe has lost more than half a million subscribers according to the last sector performance report.
It has posted an annual loss of $21.9 million as at November 2018, and another annual loss will be announced in the next few upcoming days.
If this does not worry you then nothing else will