Zambia to license fourth mobile operator

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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Airtel, MTN and Zamtel to face competition, says Zambian telecoms minister Brian Mushimba

The Zambian government has given the go ahead for a fourth mobile operator to be selected to compete with Airtel, MTN and Zamtel.

Brian Mushimba, transport and communications minister, said that his ministry has told the regulator, the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (Zicta), to begin the process.

However Zicta has not so far confirmed that it has begun work. The new licence will be issued under a revised procedure that the government introduced in June with the aim of opening up the telecoms market.

“The market analysis that we have done supports the fact that we can have a fourth licensee and possibly a fifth and still the market will be profitable,” Mushimba said, according to Reuters news agency.

One likely candidate for a new licence is Vodafone, which offers a data-only service via 4G data operator Afrimax under the brand Mobile Broadband Zambia.

Zambia has 12.4 million active mobile users among a population of 16 million.