South Africa's MTN is rumoured to be considering an investment in neighbouring Zimbabwe to get a stake in the country's mobile phone sector. The rumours were heightened when the company took a stand at a trade fair in the country this week.
According to media reports in South Africa, MTN is eyeing a 60 percent shareholding in Telecel Zimbabwe - which is owned by Egypt's Orascom Telecom.
"We have always said we are looking for value-enhancing opportunities and Zimbabwe presents us with one. Zimbabwe is our neighbour sitting there waiting. The Government is embarking on a reinvention of itself and has opened up to South African companies to go in and operate there," MTN spokeswoman Nozipho January-Bardill told South African newspaper Business Day.
"MTN has taken risks in much poorer countries and from what we are seeing there seems to be a commitment to grow and redevelop the economy," January-Bardill said.
The country currently has three mobile network operators. According to figures from the Mobile World analysts, Telecel is estimated to have ended last year with around 232,000 subscribers - representing a market share of around 15%.