Ex-Vodacom (T) kingpin comes back as competitor

07Jun 2021
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Ex-Vodacom (T) kingpin comes back as competitor
  • *Readies to take over TiGO, Zantel by Malagasy-based telecoms firm

LOCAL telecoms sector stakeholder Rostam Aziz, who was involved in board tussles over payment of hefty fees against Vodacom (T) Ltd to the government, appears to have branched off on his own, informed sources assert.

This development arises from reports that Millicom International Cellular S.A (Millicom), the parent company of MIC Tanzania PLC and Zanzibar Telecom PLC announced that it has signed an agreement for the sale of its entire operations - TIGO and Zantel – to a consortium led by Axian Group, a company based in the Malagasy capital of Antananarivo.

This announcement which appeared in the London daily, Financial Times, were linked to unconfirmed reports that the Axian Group has already nominated a multifaceted investor, Rostam Aziz as its local partner.

Well informed sources affirm that the veteran constructor who had a noticeable role in the early part of the fourth phase government has been on the board of Vodacom (T) and in the past two years decided to transfer his shares to Vodacom (South Africa), the parent company.

Certain investors were interested in finding out more about this partnership and what it implies for procedural advertising for a competitive tender for such sale, since it wasn’t proceeded via the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange where the two firms are listed, and instead sold out externally by the parent company..

 Officials of Caspian Investments, a construction firm where the telecoms investor has controlling interest, when contacted they declined to comment, stating that Caspian was a construction firm and not a mobile services provider.

There are diverse claims that Tigo and Zantel have not been operating profitably in recent years and were actually in debt to banks, etc, with investigative reporters visiting the Zantel office near the US embassy remarking that the place looks like it is virtually abandoned.

Seeking for explanation for this state of affairs, one analyst suggested that Millicom has not sufficiently invested in Tigo and Zantel during the past three to five years, wondering if they should keep their toehold here or pull out to focus on its Latin American base.

As no further elaboration was available on the disposal of local operations of Tigo and Zantel, with millions of subscribers all over the country, analysts think it is a matter that regulatory authorities shall elaborate upon by the time the procedure for effecting the sale in being deliberated or finalised.

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