Swazi telco regulator to lay off 250 employees

The Swaziland Post and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) is set to make 250 employees jobless after MTN Swaziland won a case in the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) ordering SPTC to end its mobile operations.

SPTC staff association chairman Menzi Hlophe told Business Report that plans were underway to fire a quarter of the corporation’s 1,000 employees.

HumanIPO reported in July on news of MTN Swaziland demanding US$100 million compensation from SPTC over an alleged breach of contract after the regulator set up mobile network ONE, in direct competition with MTN, as well as the device store Fixedphones.

Last month the ICA ruled in favour of MTN Swaziland, with the shutdown of the STPC’s mobile operations now set to impact on its employees.

“These were people who were hired… to work on ONE and Fixedfone services,” Hlophe said.

Reports in last week’s edition of the Times of Swaziland said close to 60 percent of SPTC workers protested against the closure of Fixedfones. They said the service was an important gadget for effective communication across the nation.

ONE was in operation for a year before the ICA decision. During that period it obtained 14,000 mobile phone subscribers and 10,000 mobile internet dongle users. Reports say that MTN Swaziland lost between US$17 million and $65 million as a result of competition from SPTC.

SPTC has been operating in Swaziland for more than two decades. It is a state-owned firm under the Ministry for Tourism, Environment and Communications and offers mail, Phutfumani Couriers, Telecom and Internet services.

MTNis a South African telecommunication service provider that offers services in Swaziland, Botswana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Benin, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Liberia, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Cyprus and Yemen.

The Group has more than 176 million subscribers across these countries.

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