FOR SWAZIS: Swazi Mobile Director Victor Gamedze.
The cat is finally out of the bag as shrewd businessman Victor Gamedze’s company, Swazi Mobile Limited to trade as ‘Swazi Mobile’ is the third company that will compete with established mobile telecommunications service provider MTN in the country.
The other mobile licence was given to SPTC, but they are yet to come in, as they are busy with legislation that will see them unbundle their operations into three entities that would make them suitable for competition.
The other loose end they are also untying is selling their stake in Swazi MTN, which happens to be 41 percent.
Following months of rampant speculation, the Swazi owned company has finally been awarded the licence to operate as the third telecommunications service provider in the country by the Swaziland Communications Commission (SCCOM).
According to SCCOM acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thulani Fakudze, the awarding of the licence to the third service provider has come after a dynamic scrutiny of a total of four applicants that were all vying for the licence.
The other three applicants were Viettel Global Investment Joint Stock Company trading as Vietel, Mauritius Telecom Limited and sdnet which is a partnership between Data Network Services (PTY) Limited “DataNet” and Ndlaphu Financial Services (Pty) Limited (NFS) respectively.
This was after an invitation to apply for the third licence was issued by SCCOM on September 13, 2016 and subsequently the four competing applicants were unveiled on October 31, 2016.
“Herein, the Commission has undertaken a detailed analysis and evaluation of the applications and intends to make its decision. Following the evaluation process, the Commission hereby announces its decision that the successful and preferred applicant is Swazi Mobile Limited, and the Commission intends awarding the licence to Swazi Mobile Limited,” said Fakudze.
The acting CEO pointed out that as part of the public consultation process considered in Section 32 of the Swaziland Communications Commissions Act read with the Electronic Communications Act, 2013, the Commission, therefore, invites written comments from interested stakeholders and the general public on the public consultation document.
Fakudze said the document is available to the public through the Commission’s website, www.sccom.org.sz. He said the deadline for the submission of comments in relation to this process is Tuesday, January 31, 2017.
Fakudze also invited enquiries and comments to be addressed to their offices at the Mbabane Office Park.
This is for the Swazis – Victor Gamedze
Swazi Mobile Director Victor Gamedze says the third mobile operator’s licence awarded to his company by the Swaziland Communications Commission (SCCOM) is victory for the entire Swazi populace.
SCCOM announced yesterday that after a vigorous process of detailed analysis and evaluation of the four applications, Swazi Mobile was awarded two licences to provide public telecommunications services.
The other three applicants were Viettel Global Investment Joint Stock Company (Vietel), Mauritius Telecom Limited and sdnet (a partnership between Data Network Services (PTY) Limited “DataNet” and Ndlaphu Financial Services (Pty) Limited (NFS) respectively.
Swazi Mobile has been issued with the same licence as per Section 50 (1) of The Electronic Communications Act, 2013 which were issued by the Commission to existing licensees, Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) and Swazi MTN after the effective date of above legislation, lawfully providing electronic communications networks or services consistent with the provisions of the new legal framework. According to Section 9 (2) of the Electronic communications Act, the Commission gave the two, and now Swazi Mobile, Individual Electronic Communications Network and Service Technology Neutral Licences to provide voice telephony and any other services allowed under the licence.
Interviewed yesterday, after SCCOM issued a press statement confirming the awarding of the third mobile licence to Swazi Mobile, Gamedze said this is not about him. “I take this decision with all the humility it deserves and understanding that not all of us would have done it. But those Swazis who were motivated and capable tried their luck and I am happy that a truly Swazi owned company has been given the licence. I thank the nation for their prayers and encouragement that at least this should go to a Swazi this time.
“Let me assure the nation that this is a truly owned Swazi mobile company which is not going to be about lip-service, but we will demonstrate soon when we unpack plans how Swazis will get involved,” Gamedze said. He said now that he has brought the licence home, it is time to share the cake with everyone.
“One way we will demonstrate that this is a truly Swazi company would be through job creation. At the initial stage which is setting up phase, we will have at least 80 per cent of the jobs occupied by skilled Swazis, while we offer short term contracts to expatriates.
It will not be longer than three years, otherwise we want to demonstrate that we can deliver top edge telecommunications services.” When asked if being a servant of the King (Board of Trustees) had not influenced the decision to his favour, Gamedze said being the King’s servant did do not him any favours.
“What was required in this process was extensive knowledge of the telecommunications field, capacity and capability to deliver the services.
“The telecommunications applications process was too involved and expensive too. We were required to put together a strong team of experts who cost millions to put together an over 400 page document to come close in having a sound application. The standard was just too high, hence putting together this application needed more than just being a pretty or well connected face.
“I would say what counted for me was my rich background in the telecommunications sector as the provider of cutting edge technology and services to existing telecommunications companies and my vast knowledge of the local environment has helped secure this licence. This was not a favour.
Those who may want to look at this as one should do some little research and remind themselves of the many products we have introduced in the Swazi market as MVtel from your E-Top Up, modernisation of SPTC to venture into wireless technology and the very first mobile Lotto. We are a proud Swazi company that supplied the digital migration set-top boxes when many countries have struggled.
We have come a long way and we know that it will not be easy for our competitors as we will offer cutting edge technologies to our clients and respond to our market’s needs. Swazis will be proud of our contribution as the country moves closer to achieve the King’s 2022 Vision of making Swaziland achieve First World status,” Gamedze said.