Zambia has begun offering ‘unified’ telecoms licences in a bid to attract international service providers, writes Computerworld Zambia. The country joins Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa in offering a single concession for an array of services including internet and mobile telephony. Zambian Minister of Communication and Transport Geoffrey Lungwangwa said in parliament last week that the country’s new telecoms bill, which provides for the unified licence, will attract foreign investment in the sector and will protect the rights and interests of service providers and consumers. Among the things the bill is seeking to accomplish is the promotion of competition and efficiency among service providers, research, ICT equipment manufacturing and the use of new technologies including 3G and WiMAX. The new bill gives power to Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA), to regulate tariffs and agreements on interconnection fees. The bill further gives ZICTA power to determine a system for promoting the widespread availability and usage of electronic communication networks throughout Zambia by encouraging the installation of communication networks in rural and underserved areas.