South African mobile giant MTN has expressed interest in acquiring Zimbabwe's Telecel, now a distant third in that market following Econet and state-controlled NetOne.
The Financial Gazette, a weekly paper, reported that MTN expressed interest at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair this week in Bulawayo. It quoted an MTN executive as saying the firm was ready to invest in Zimbabwe but didn't know if it would acquire or seek a new license.
Reports last week said parastatal operator NetOne is on the block for privatization as the government needs cash and it was valued some years ago at US$500 million.
London-based telecoms analyst Baddii Kechiche of Pyramid Research told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that an MTN-Telecel deal would make sense for both companies and that consumers would be likely to benefit from lower rates.
MTN operates in more than 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
In addition to South Africa it has operations in Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, the Republic of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda and Zambia, according to the Wikipedia.