Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile network operator Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has dismissed claims by ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira that Econet did not pay their licence fee in full. The telecoms giant said that Mandiwanzira’s claim that government did Econet a favour by assuming NetOne and Telecel‘s debts for interconnection fees was ludicrous as that money was due to Econet legally.
NetOne and TelOne owed money to Econet at the time. The Government of Zimbabwe assumed these obligations and itself became a debtor to Econet. Instead of Government paying Econet so that Econet can return the money to the Government of Zimbabwe as part of the licence fee, the Government of Zimbabwe agreed to settle on a net basis,”
To argue that the use of a debt owed to Econet to settle part of the licence obligation is ludicrous. Such a lack of appreciation of basic principles of finance and economics is the reason some parastatals incur debt without any intention to settle them!
Econet also accused the two state owned mobile network operators, Netone and Telecel, of committing fraud by failing to remit interconnection fees due to Econet. The MNO claims that it always settles its invoices on time and as a result, it does not owe any MNO money for interconnection fees. Telecel and Netone on the other hand, reportedly owe Econet Wireless $25 million in unpaid interconnection fees, eve after the government assumed the two parastatals’ combined debt of $60 million.
Econet is currently owed more than US$25 million by TelOne and NetOne which has not been paid for interconnection between the networks . . .
NetOne and TelOne have been collecting money for calls made onto the Econet network by its customers but have not been paying Econet its share of the money collected. It is a requirement under the licence conditions for these payments to be settled between the parties. Their failure to pass on the money they already collected from their customers is more than reckless. It is fraudulent
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