Airtel Zambia, the country’s largest cellco by subscribers, is aiming to invest more than ZMK20 billion (USD3.79 million) on boosting the number of 3.5G cell sites it has in operation, AllAfrica reports. Further, the company has said it plans to spend more than ZMK5 billion specifically in the district of Chongwe with a view to encouraging uptake in that region. Airtel Zambia managing director Fayaz King was cited as saying that the reason behind the increased investment was the demand for services, coupled with a growing need to upgrade its existing infrastructure. Noting that the cellco has struggled to increase network capacity as a result of limited resources, Mr King noted: ‘We are facing a lot of challenges as the company posed by the growth in the number of subscribers over the past years, but we are determined to face the challenge.’ The executive also revealed that Airtel Zambia has more than 70,000 people connected to its network in Chongwe, and that number is expected to double once the new cell sites are brought online.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in January 2012 Airtel Zambia announced the launch of HSPA+ technology, with the operator at that date claiming to already have 280 3.5G cell sites in operation, covering all of the countries provincial districts and offering theoretical downlink speeds of up to 21Mbps. It has previously said it aims to roll out up to 400 HSPA+-enabled sites by the end of 2012.