When was Telecel Zimbabwe Established?

Telecel Zimbabwe is a player in the telecoms arena operating a mobile network. It is a private entity owned and registered in Zimbabwe. The company has more than 20 branches established all over the country. Telecel is the second-largest independent service provider after Econet Wireless.

Telecel Zimbabwe has its headquarters in Harare. The company has seen gradual growth since its inception and the majority of its subscribers are in and around urban areas. The company has more than 2.5 million registered subscribers.  

Background of Telecel

Telecel was established in 1996 in Harare Zimbabwe by Miko Rwayatire. Telecel was jointly owned by Empowerment Corporation with a 40% stake and Vimplecom with a 60% stake in the company. Vimpelcom is a company registered in Russia with a wireless and telecom operation. The company is a leading service provider in Russia and is a subsidiary of VEON.

Telecel Zimbabwe was a subsidiary of Telecel International. Telecel International is a company privately owned by Miko Rwayatire, a Rwandese. The company was awarded the operating license n 1997 following a bid by other 5 telecom companies which included Econet.

Telecel was swiftly met with opposition since a competitor Econet raised a point of irregularities which resulted in the suspension of the license. Following the ruling by the court, Telecel appealed against the ruling to the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe.

In 2013 the issue of licensing was again raised by the competitor Econet when it disrupted services citing the lack of legal obligation to connect with the company. However, this was soon regularized and operations kick-started.

Telecel has seen its fair share of controversy since its inception having its license cancelled in 1997, 2007, and 2013. In 2007 a shareholding issue had arisen, followed by the scandal of Jane Mutasa who was alleged to have embezzled company properties.

In 2015, the company faced threats of closure due to the failure to meet regulations and licensing requirements. Due to the indigenization requirements shareholding has since changed. Kestrel Corporation and Selporn Investments, and ZARnet currently own the company. 

ZARnet currently owns 60% of the company’s shareholding which is split between the Zimbabwe Miners Federation, Affirmative Action Group, War Veterans Association, and the Zimbabwe Farmers Union.

Services Offered by Telecel Zimbabwe

Telecel Zimbabwe offers a modest array of services which include a money transfer platform that is called Telecash, a mobile broadband service that comes in the form of 2G, 2.5G EDGe, and 3G. Econet has not yet established any 4G or LTE base stations in Zimbabwe.

It is lagging behind its counterparts Econet and Netone who have expended time and resources on the establishment of high-speed broadband networks in Zimbabwe. The company also provisions voice services.