28 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Telecel Taps Into Orascom Funds

INTERNATIONAL telecommunications company, Orascom Telecom Holdings, injected US$70 million into its Zimbabwean unit, Telecel Zimbabwe, part of which will be used to boost network coverage, an executive said last week.

Network coverage is currently at 80 percent and Telecel wants to raise this to 90 percent.

Telecel Zimbabwe chief executive officer, Francis Mawindi, said the mobile telecommunication company was now well capitalised after the US$70 million cash injection.

Speaking to The Financial Gazette's Companies & Markets last week, Mawindi said the company would invest in network expansion in order to increase service delivery.

"We have invested in network to bring about quality service and by year end our network coverage should be 90 percent," he said.

Orascom says the money put into Telecel Zimbabwe was meant to expand and upgrade network and services after the major shareholder was convinced that there was a huge potential for expanding mobile telecommunications services in the country.

Telecel currently has a subscriber base of 2,62 million from 2,58 million as at December 31, 2012. The company's network coverage was 75 percent as at December 31, 2012.

Telecel Zimbabwe is the country's second largest mobile company by subscribers, trailing Econet Wireless with eight million active subscribers. NetOne has two million subscribers.

Telecel says it plans to roll out an additional 120 base stations by July this year to increase population coverage and cater for demand. The company presently has 437 base stations countrywide covering both 2G and 3G services.

Telecel introduced a new fixed payment platform that gives existing and potential customers new attractive fixed payment contract packages that offer unlimited local calls and bonus text messages and data.

The packages are meant to give customers greater control and flexibility over their cell phone expenditure, as well as attractive bonus usage that could result in them having usage every month worth up to five times the amount of their monthly subscription.

The bonus services range from unlimited local calls made to a single Telecel number of the customer's choice to completely unlimited local calls, text messages across all networks and unlimited local data, depending on the package.

Those who sign in for one of these packages would also receive priority customer service.

The new product, Telecel Red, consists of a choice of three packages, with an option of either an outright post paid or flexi (hybrid) choice, each with a credit limit for local calls.

There are 3 options available including a US$30 a month package, a US$60 a month package and a US$150 per month package.

The Telecel Red 30 package is US$30 per month. It allows the customer up to US$30 worth of local calls, data and text messages per month and unlimited calls to one Telecel number of the subscriber's choice. It also includes 60 free megabytes of data.

The Telecel Red 60 package allows up to US$60 worth of local calls, text messages and data per month, unlimited calls to Telecel numbers, unlimited local text messages and an additional bonus 120 megabyte data allowance.

The Telecel Red 150 package, which costs US$150 per month, allows unlimited local calls to any number across all networks, as well as unlimited local text messages and local data.

The unlimited usage in all three packages is subject to the Fair Usage Policy, meaning that if usage is excessively more than could be expected of an average person, usage may be restricted.

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