CAZ claims Zain’s 3G licence was issued legally

12 Aug 2009

The Communications Authority of Zambia (CAZ) has refuted claims by former vice-president Enoch Kavindele that it illegally issued a 3G licence to Zain Zambia, reports. The statement follows claims by Kavindele that by issuing the licence the regulator contravened an injunction granted to Vodacom Zambia in October 2008 over the registration of a fourth mobile phone company in the country. The clash follows reports last week that Zain had been issued a 3G licence, but the CAZ’s public relations and consumer affairs Ngabo Nankonde said that the concession had actually been issued on 13 August 2007, well before the injunction had been granted. The regulator also added that it had only issued a test authorisation to Zain to conduct trials for 3G services in Zambia, claiming that authorisation issued was principally for the purpose of establishing the usability of the technology in Zambia; the CAZ contends that the trials are being conducted with no commercial value.

Additionally, Nakonde has criticised Kavindele’s interpretation of the injunction, noting: ‘We do not understand the intention of the former vice-president because the matter at hand is the fourth mobile licence and nothing to do with other licences and spectrum.’ Kavindele, who is the chairman of Vodacom Zambia, obtained an injunction from the High Court in October last year prohibiting the entry of a new mobile network operator to the market. He maintains that this injunction prevents the CAZ from granting any licences relating to telecommunication until the injunction is discharged, and also claims that the government’s proposed sale of a 75% stake in the Zambia Telecommunication Company (Zamtel) is illegal.