Privately-held Econet Wirelesss, the largest mobile operator in Zimbabwe, lashed out at government plans that require the sharing of its network with smaller rivals, claiming it was nothing more than a backdoor scheme to seize its assets.
Econet, which owns 80 per cent of Zimababwe’s telecoms infrastructure, said in a statement – cited by Reuters – that although it agrees to share infrastructure, such as base stations, the firm was unlikely to benefit.
“Therefore, the type of infrastructure sharing under debate is not feasible. It is a disguised, unconstitutional form of compulsory acquisition of our infrastructure,” said the operator.
Supa Mandiwanzira, minister for ICT, postal and courier services, rejected Econet’s accusation. “The key objective for infrastructure sharing is to make services cheaper for consumers and save the country unnecessary cost of infrastructure importation,” he said.
The minister added that the government was considering creating a single company to run the country’s three mobile networks as one.
According to figures from GSMA Intelligence, Econet had 9.4 million connections by the end of 2014, while government-owned NetOne was far behind in second place with 3 million connections.
Third-placed Telecel, majority-owned by Amsterdam-based VimpelCom, had 2.2 million connections.