MTN close to setting Zimbabwe base, say sources

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Phelekezela Mphoko

Zimbabwe’s deputy president Phelekezela Mphoko

JOHANNESBURG – THERE are strong indications the MTN Group is on the verge of expanding to Zimbabwe where government has recently cancelled the operating license of the second-biggest mobile network operator.

Impeccable sources told CAJ News Africa in Johannesburg that the South African-based MTN Group, Africa’s largest mobile network has almost completed the deal with government towards purchasing embattled Telecel Zimbabwe’s licence.

Knowledgeable sources said Zimbabwe’s second Deputy President Phelekezela Mphoko, a former Ambassador to South Africa, and MTN Group Chief Executive Officer, Sifiso Dabengwa, facilitated what is believed to be an imminent deal.

“The deal has almost sailed through! The government of Zimbabwe will acquire a huge shareholding stake in the MTN Group’s Telecel Zimbabwe operations,” said a source.

He said the government looked for Telecel Zimbabwe’s replacement following authorities cancelling its licence over shareholding squabbles.

There was no immediate response to questions sent to MTN Group publicists on Sunday.

It was not so clear either as to whether the new minister of Information Communication Technology ICT), Supa Mandiwanzira, was aware of the deal or not.

MTN Group currently has a strong presence in 22 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The planned move into Zimbabwe, which would make it the third operator, would increase competition to Econet, the biggest mobile network firm in the Southern African country.

– CAJ News

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