Zambia has capacity to accommodate a fifth mobile network operator, says Minister
29 September 2017
Zambia's Minister of Communications and Transport Brian Mushimba says the country has the capacity to accommodate a fifth mobile network operator.
The Minister made the announcement soon after a directive issued to ZICTA (Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority) to immediately open bids for a potential fourth operator.
Cabinet last week approved the introduction of a fourth operator and cited the high cost of communication as the main reason. The move also received the support of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).
CCPC Executive Director Chilufya Sampa said the existing operators should understand that they will have to 'up their game' or risk losing customers.
The fourth operator could be operational in the next 6 to 12 months, according to Mushimba.
"The market analysis we have done supports the fact that we can have a fourth licensee and possibly a fifth and the market will still be profitable. ZICTA is now at liberty to start the process of selecting the fourth mobile network provider and we want them to do so transparently," he said.
The minister added that the government is eager to see the telecommunications sector grow from the current levels.
Zambia's new licensing framework allows multiple operators and also allows ISPs to serve as operators and make voice calls.
Currently, Zambia's mobile phone market is dominated by MTN Zambia with close to 6 million customers, followed by Airtel Zambia with approximately 4 million subscribers and Zamtel with 2 million customers.