Masawara invests in 4G technology

Shingai Mutasa's Masawara Limited is investing a substantial amount of cash to build the first Fourth Generation (4G) mobile telecommunications network in Zimbabwe.

This technology is more advanced than telecommunications giant Econets Third Generation (3G) network.

Econet, the only mobile telephone network listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), leads the pack of operators – NetOne (Private) Limited and Telecel Zimbabwe (Private) Limited, in terms of innovation and has rolled out 3G and GPRS services in Zimbabwe.

The firm currently has a market capitalisation of $786,3 million, a share price of $4,80, grabbing 69 percent of the market.

Econet is currently Zimbabwe's largest mobile telephone network operator with more than six million subscribers to its credit and 400 base stations.

Masawara, which intends to wrestle the limelight from Econet, concluded the acquisition of a 50 percent stake in Telerix Communications in November, last year, for a consideration of $5 million through a private placement.

It invested a further $2 million in February, this year, through a subscription for preference shares.

Mutasa told international investors that he was mooting listing Masawara on the ZSE in August, which would see him become one of only a few tycoons with two listings on the bourse. He currently has huge interests in TA Holdings Limited (TA).

Masawara is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and is the holding firm of TA Holdings Limited (TA), his ZSE cash cow.

Telerix is among the few Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Zimbabwe today.

It has been established that Telerix's total non-current assets as at June 30, 2010 were $11,3 million.

Mutasa said his firm was looking forward to investing heavily in Zimbabwe because he saw a bright future for the country despite its economic problems during the past.

He said the future of Telerix was in the wholesaling of international bandwidth to corporate customers and other ISPs in Zimbabwe.

Telerix will also establish a fixed, nomadic and ultimately fully mobile broadband services via fibre optic and WiMAX network architecture.

Masawara recently acquired 100 percent of BP and Shell Marketing Services (Private) Limited for a consideration of $30 million financed through a $8,2 million cash and debt funding arrangements.

Mutasa said the equity investment would be diluted through a combination of several measures including introducing financial and technical partners, an employee share ownership scheme, and implementing various economic empowerment initiatives.

Masawara currently has a market capitalisation of $38,3 million. Its share price in London is the equivalent of $1.

Masawara controls a 30 percent stake in TA Holdings, which has interests in the insurance, agro-chemical and hospitality industries.

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