VODACOM WANTS ITS ZAMBIAN LICENCE RESTORED

Telecoms

Vodacom has appealed to the Zambian Government to reinstate its licence to become a fourth mobile cellular phone service provider in Zambia. Communication and Transport Minister Bates Namuyamba said in an interview last week that Vodacom recently wrote to the Zambian Government through its local representative to reinstate its operating licence for it to come to Lusaka.

Namuyamba said Vodacom earlier withdrew from Zambia because it was given an operating licence when there were no frequencies to be allocated to a fourth mobile cellular phone service provider. "The time Vodacom was given an operating licence, there were no frequencies to allocate to the company as all of them had been taken up by Telecel, Celtel and ZAMTEL," he said.

Mr Namuyamba explained that he had since retrieved some frequencies from the three telecommunication companies to give room for a fourth service provider to set up its operations. Each country is allocated 25 frequencies for telecommunications operations, but at the time Vodacom was being given an operating licence, there was only one frequency available. For a company to set up a telecommunication company, it needs six frequencies. The minister recently issued a statutory instrument instructing Communications Authority (CA) to retrieve some frequencies from the three companies ( Celtel, Telecel and Cell Z).

"Initially, Telecel had six frequencies, Zamtel had eight and Celtel had 10, so I issued a statutory instrument instructing CA to retrieve two frequencies from ZAMTEL and four from Celtel," he said. Mr Namuyamba however said the appeal by Vodacom to reinstate their licence would have to be discussed before the final answer was given to the company. "I will have to discuss the issue with CA for them to make a final decision to reinstate Vodacom's operating licence," he said.

The Times of Zambia