Econet Disconnects Telecel: Big Bully or Law Abiding Company?


By now you’ve probably heard and experienced the fact that Telecel has been disconnected by their much larger competitor, Econet. No, its not a technical problem, it was a very intentional move.

Heres what Econet had say about it.

Econet press statement on
interconnection with
Telecel Zimbabwe

Econet Wireless wishes to
state the following regarding interconnection with Telecel Zimbabwe:

Econet Wireless was on 10 July 2013, awarded a renewed 20 year licence following the expiry of the 15-year licence issued in 1998. This licence places certain strict conditions on our operations. Clause 5.2.2
of our licence requires us to
interconnect only with
licensed operators.
This clause derives from
Section 61 of the Postal and
Telecommunications Act,
which allows a licensed
operator to interconnect
with another licensed
operator. Section 2 of the
Act defines a licensee as a
holder of a valid licence
issued in terms of section
37 of the Act.
This section imposes no
obligation on the part of
any licensed operator to
interconnect with a provider
of telecommunications
services that is not validly
licensed.
Telecel Zimbabwe is not a
holder of a valid licence
issued in terms of Section
37 of the Act. Telecel
Zimbabwe was announced
as the winner of a tender to
operate a mobile
telecommunications service
in 1996.

The award of the
licence to Telecel Zimbabwe
was declared to be invalid
by a High Court judgment
handed down on 31
December 1997. Telecel
Zimbabwe appealed to the
Supreme Court, but the
appeal was never pursued.
The High Court granted
leave for the execution of its
judgment pending appeal.
That leave was never
challenged in the Supreme
Court. If Telecel Zimbabwe
was subsequently issued
with a licence, the issue of
such a licence was in
violation of the High Court
Judgment, and of the
Telecommunications
legislation that applied at
the time.

In any event, as is a matter
of public record, the Telecel
Zimbabwe licence was
subsequently validly
terminated. Assuming the
licence issued to Telecel was
valid and was not validly
terminated, such licence
expired on 2 June 2013. As
can be confirmed with
regulatory authorities, no
new licence has been issued
in its place. Therefore, as
matters stand, Telecel is not
a holder of a valid
telecommunications licence
issued in terms of section
37 of the Act.

Econet Wireless does not
have any legal or moral
obligation to interconnect
with an unlicensed operator.
In fact, we have a duty to
disconnect such an
operator. Econet Wireless
has fully met the terms of
its new licence, which terms
include hugely burdensome
financial obligations. In
contrast, Telecel has not
been subjected to any such
financial obligations. With
no such burden upon it,
Telecel has been free to
deliberately engage in
trading practices that have
distorted the playing field.
In the circumstances, Econet
Wireless regrets to advise
that we are not obligated to
continue offering
interconnection services to
Telecel.

So there you have it, right from the horses mouth. What do you think?

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One thought on “Econet Disconnects Telecel: Big Bully or Law Abiding Company?

  1. Big brother is punishing young Telecel for the audacity to launch their unprecedented bonus promotion.But i think it may backfire on Econet as most of us have both Telecel and Econet lines and we are also being punished.

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