Zambia’s telecoms regulator charges operators

Telecoms

Zambia’s regulator ZICTA has started criminal proceedings against all three cellphone operators in the country, saying they have failed to meet minimum quality standards.

Deteriorating service by the local units of Bharti Airtel, MTN Group and state-owned Zambia Telecommunication has made communications difficult, doing business harder, and led to a public outcry, the Lusaka-based Zambia Information and Technology Authority said in an e-mailed statement on Friday.

"The authority has resolved to take remedial measures relating to enforcement of quality of service in order to protect public interest," said the authority.

The country, Africa’s biggest copper producer with a population of 13.8-million, has a mobile penetration rate of nearly 63%, according to a report by the GSMA, a mobile-operator industry group.

Chabuka Kawesha, a spokesman for Airtel Zambia, declined to immediately comment, as did Kennedy Mambwe, a spokesman for Zamtel. Rich Mkhondo, MTN’s spokesman, also declined to comment.