Telecel denies collapse claims

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THE embattled government-owned mobile network operator, Telecel Zimbabwe, has dismissed claims it was on the brink of collapse but confirmed facing operational challenges due to a collapsing national economy.

Telecel Zimbabwe is the country’s third largest mobile network operator.

This week, the Communication and Allied Services Workers Union of Zimbabwe (CASWUZ) wrote to the Minister of ICT Minister Jenfan Muswere complaining that all was not well with the struggling mobile telecoms firm and operations had deteriorated to unimaginable proportions.

However, Telecel Zimbabwe Acting Public Relations Manager Simoen Mutize assured stakeholders Friday that while the company was facing challenges, it was not on the brink of collapse “and continues to offer quality service to its customers.”

“Like all other 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 challenging economic conditions,” said Mutize.

He said the rapid depreciation of the local currency and the levels of tariff increases approved, which continued to lag behind inflation, have affected the company’s ability to meet the foreign currency denominated obligations, especially spares for equipment 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 Mutize, adding that prolonged power outages in the country had also affected the company’s mobile connectivity.

“The Company 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.”

On staff welfare, Mutize said Telecel Zimbabwe had been continuously reviewing their salaries.

“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 endeavour to do so to the best of its ability,” he said.