Supa: Don’t read too much into Tweet. No Orange player replacing Telecel

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar

So yesterday, the ICT Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira set off a storm speculation with  his “orange” future for Telecel tweet:

Could this mean an operator that has an orange colors is taking over Telecel? Is this an international player Vimpelcom is selling to? Could government be thinking of merging it with NetOne?

Don’t read too much into the tweet is what the Minister said when we contacted him. In his words:

There is a common saying referring to a favorable future which goes : The future is orange, it is bright. Anyone who interprets this to mean it’s the color of a mobile phone company is smoking something illegal.

But what would our job be if we didn’t speculate anyway. So here goes how we tried to break it down:

Orange the French telecoms company is a no no. No way are the French suddenly going to be buying telecoms assets in Zimbabwe in this era. It doesn’t help of course that the phrase “The future’s bright, the future’s Orange“, was actually originated by Orange itself in the UK !

Unitel LogoUnitel (Angola) is an interesting one. Not only is it orange in color, the operator is owned by Isabel dos Santos who’s been rumoured to be interested in buying out Telecel. Isabel is of course known for having the cash to do such a thing. She’s the daughter of the Angolan President,  José Eduardo dos Santos and she certainly wouldn’t hesitate picking up what international companies like Orange would consider a high risk investment.

Viettel Group (Vietnam) seem far fetched at first, but a friend convinced us otherwise, so give us a second. First, well, they are orange, but this as well: Viettel are the largest in a 90 million people market and have been raising funds to do exactly this sort of thing – acquire assets in a global expansion drive. The company has expanded into ‘interesting’ countries like Myanmar, Cambodia and right next door in Mozambique where they are working with Frelimo in what is now the fastest growing company on the continent. Plus Viettel is run by the military and would find it easier speaking the same language our liberation war credentials driven government speaks. Far fetched again if you don’t consider that in Mozambique they partnered a Frelimo holding company that is headed by a member of Frelimo Central Committee.

NetOne is also a no no as well. Not only would it make them weaker together when they fall into the lowest common denominator standard, it would buy NetOne management time to not deliver results as they work to consolidate the two animals into one, and the minister has already said time is what he doesn’t to give more of.

MTN still feel like a stretch really. They’re bright, but not orange! Yes, they have appetite for risk but this hardly looks like the kind they’d jump into. Inconsistencies in government policy being the main issue we see.

Maswara: Decided to add Masawara after reading that the minister suggested them as an option for Vimpelcom to sell to. You can read the full article here.


  1. At Least

    At least the minister said the future is bright for Telecel. I assume it means Telecel will not be closing down.

  2. Anonymous

    The one thing i like about Kabweza and team is you take your time and you do not rush into conclusions. Thumbs up. Anyway are we saying the national broadcaster is misinformed. Please keep us updated on this new orange player.

    1. LoveJ

      Good question?

  3. TakarwaHondo

    Q: What has been brought by the co-operation with Viettel?
    A: Vietnam and Mozambique had built a close relationship during the wartime. Many Vietnamese agricultural, healthcare and cultural experts have worked in Mozambique. We always appreciated co-operation with Vietnam and with other partners including Viettel. The co-operation has yielded economic benefits and other social and cultural fruits.

    Q: Does Movitel have a plan to invest outside Mozambique?
    A: Movitel is a road or a bridge connecting us with other countries in Africa. In the future, we want to expand our business. This can be a five-year plan. I believe that the success of Movitel in Mozambique will be replicated in other neighbouring countries.