Vodacom's new CEO aims to resolve DRC spat


South African mobile operator Vodacom no longer plans to exit the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it aims to resolve a longstanding dispute with its local partner, the incoming chief executive of the South African mobile operator said on Friday.

Vodacom has previously said it was looking to exit the business in the DRC, where it has been stuck for years in a row with Congolese Wireless Network over fees.

"We are working with the local partner to resolve the issues. We are confident the issues are resolvable," Shameel Joosub told reporters at a media event.

Joosub was speaking to reporters for the first time since being named as the company's next chief executive. He will replace current head Pieter Uys in April next year.

He also said the company plans to roll out next generation 4G services in South Africa by the end of this year.

Joosub's comments about the DRC business signal a major shift in strategy over the unit, of which Vodacom owns 51%.

The company in 2010 appointed investment bank Rothschild to help with the sale of the stake.

The sale process was halted after a DRC court ordered Vodacom to pay $21 million in consulting fees to a separate firm or face the loss of its stake.

That dispute is also on-going.

Furthermore, Joosub also said the the mobile operator plans to unveil its 4G network in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban - a move that is similar to rival MTN's plans.