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Zimbabwe sets telecom license fees at $137.5mn


Government backs down from a plan to charge telcos $180 million in renewal costs.

Zimbabwean mobile operators such as Econet Wireless are expected to pay $137.5 million in telecoms license renewal fees instead of government’s proposed fee of $180 million.

James Myers, the chairman of Econet Wireless, confirmed late last week that Econet’s license had been renewed at a fee of $137.5 million.

“The operating licence has now been formally renewed by the government, on substantially the same terms and conditions as the previous period,” he said.

Nicholas Goche - the Zimbabwean minister of transport, communications and infrastructure development confirmed the development - also said the tenure of the license had been increased from 15 to 20 years.

“License fees for the renewal of the mobile licence has been set at $137.5 million for 20 year tenure,” said Goche.

In addition to the $137.5 million license renewal fees, Zimbabwean mobile operators also have to pay an ‘annual license fee’ through contributing 2% of their audited annual gross turnover to the state.

Econet, Telecel and state-run NetOne are therefore set to contribute 0.5% of their gross turnover to the country’s ‘Universal Services Fund’, which is used to “extend services to rural and other underserved” areas, said Goche.

“They will also pay frequency spectrum fees in accordance with their different requirements,” he added.

Econet is Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile operator with 8 million subscribers. Meanwhile, the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has said this week that Telecel has above 2.5 million network users.


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