Airtel Plans $80 Million Worth of Upgrades in Zambia


Bharti Airtel's Zambian subsidiary expects to invest around USD80 million over the next 12 months expanding its network coverage and deploying LTE upgrades.

Airtel's managing director Charity Lumpa told the Zambia Daily Mail that while in the past the firm had experienced significant challenges in terms of network coverage, it has done a lot of research into the problems and secured the investment funding to fix them.

"Our focus in terms of rollout is to enhance quality and coverage," Ms Lumpa said at a media briefing in Lusaka.

"In 2014, we will spend an additional USD80 million in terms of network expansion and coverage with 147 new sites. We have also received an approval of USD62 million to enhance our OPEX in order to manage and enhance the network operations," she added.

Ms Lumpa noted that 4G services will be available on 25 base stations in 2014.

The country's three mobile networks are under considerable regulatory pressure to improve their quality of service, and the regulator is currently mulling issuing a fourth mobile operator license to increase competition.

It has also taken to deploying its own towers in rural areas, which it plans to lease to the mobile networks.