Zimbabwe: Govt Expects US$300-Million For NetOne, TelOne

The Zimbabwean government says that it hopes to complete the sale of its majority shares in the mobile phone operator NetOne and the fixed telecom company TelOne before the end of the year.

The country's Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said that the government aims to dispose of its majority shares and retain only 26% shareholding in both firms.
Ncube added that there has been steady progress on the privatisation process of the two telcos claiming there is interest from various investors to enter Zimbabwe's telecoms market.

Companies that have previously shown an interest in entering Zimbabwe's telecoms market include the South African telecommunications services provider Telkom and the mobile network operator MTN.

Ncube said that the reason why Zimbabwe's government is choosing to remain with 26% shareholding is for effective minority shareholding, which can still be used to block certain decisions. Anything below 26% would be ineffective.

Ncube noted that the two companies would be sold off for no less than US$300-million.

Andrew Makanya, a telecom analyst at the Computer Association of Zambia, said that privatising the companies would be the only way to make them competitive and viable because the new owners would push in more money and also come up with new strategies to quickly recoup their investments.

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