Telecel appeals for tariffs adjustment, dedicated power line as company faces collapse

  • Operations affected by years of undercapitalisation
  • Company admits to facing a cocktail of problems
  • Says power outages have forced company to use alternative power, particularly diesel which has pushed up operational costs
  •  Company engages govt for direct, uninterrupted line

ZIMBABWE’S third largest mobile network operator, Telecel, has appealed to government to adjust tariffs in line with the cost of other basic operational costs and also to provide a dedicated power line to avert collapse.

In a statement issued Friday, Telecel Zimbabwe said the comapny’s operations have been affected by a host of factors, both macro and micro economic attributed mainly to limited funding for the company over a long period of time.

The company said it finds itself at crossroads due to years of undercapitalisation and a cocktail of other problems.

Telecel Zimbabwe, however, insisted that it was not on the brink of collapse and was still offering quality services to its customers despite intermittent challenges.

“Telecel is in advanced discussions with the national power authorities and government officials in the Energy ministry to ensure a dedicated power line to our Switching Centres, and in addition the company is investing in alternative power solutions such as Tesla solar batteries for its base stations,” the company said.

“The company and other industry stakeholders continue to engage all the relevant authorities to ensure that the tariffs are adjusted in line with the cost-movement of other basic operational costs,” the statement further read.

Telecel Zimbabwe said a rapidly depreciating local currency and the levels of tariffs increases approved, which continue to lag behind, have affected their ability to meet foreign currency denominated obligations, especially spares for equipment and Service Level Agreements and support.

“This limited vendor support resulted in some network disruptions during the festive season, which have since been rectified,” Telecel Zimbabwe said.

“In order to mitigate these challenges, the company has been on a very aggressive import substitution and local skills transfer. The company’s main switching centres are in an industrial area and have been subjected to prolonged power outages, which have resulted in the company’s technological operating costs ballooning due to the use of alternative power, particularly diesel and has in turn affected base stations’ availability in other parts of the country.”

Telecel Zimbabwe continued: “The company is in advanced discussions with power authorities…to ensure a dedicated power line to switching centres, and the company is investing in alternative power solutions…”

The company said it had formulated a five-year strategic initiative which it hopes will open avenues for new funding from financial institutions.

Meanwhile, the mobile network company said it undertakes to make practical steps to ensure that efforts on staff welfare are taken care of by continuously reviewing workers’ salaries.

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