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Subscriber complaints mount as Telecel Zimbabwe scrambles to address network outages

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Zimbabwe , 03 Feb 2022

Telecel Zimbabwe is on the verge of network collapse, with subscribers experiencing service outages for prolonged periods while data connectivity has been sluggish.

VimpelCom moved out of Telecel Zimbabwe in 2016, with a little-known government entity, ZARNET, now housing the majority stake offloaded by the international telecommunications operator.

Telecom’s network challenges have been exacerbated by boardroom wrangles involving the company’s minority shareholders.

Industry analysts have noted a loss in subscribers and increase in complaints over network service quality and availability.

Industry commentator Tendai Mbofana said, “Are we safely to assume that Telecel Zimbabwe has collapsed and no longer in operation in Zimbabwe? Is it not time the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe allowed new player into the mobile network operating industry? Surely it doesn't make any sense for no network coverage for nearly a week.”

Telecel Zimbabwe, which also runs the Telecash mobile money platform, has seen its subscriber base plunge from above two million in 2014 to around 580 000 network users as at the beginning of last year, according to data released by telecommunications industry regulator Potraz.

The company has released a statement which acknowledged that “customers are failing to make voice calls and at times access to data” services in addition to other network challenges such as dropped calls.

Zitha Dube, spokesperson for Telecel Zimbabwe, is quoted: “This is due to expired software on the main Mobile Switching Controller. The software has since been renewed… however the network is still having call control rejections.”

Dube highlighted that Telecel Zimbabwe was “working in close cooperation” with Huawei, which is the software vendor “to rectify the challenges” experienced with its network.

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