Zambia reconfirms plan to offer fourth mobile licence next year

1 Apr 2014

Zambia’s minister of communications and transport, Yamfwa Mukanga, has reconfirmed that the state plans to offer a fourth mobile operator licence following the implementation of the digital migration project, which is expected to conclude next year, AllAfrica reports. As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the award of a new mobile concession was put on hold in August 2013, despite reports of interest from five companies in January that year, with South Africa-based Vodacom named as one of the interested parties. In the latest statement on the matter, Mr Mukanga was cited as saying that the eventual licensing of a new operator is seen as a means of boosting competition, noting: ‘The government is concerned with the high cost of communication … We are therefore very hopeful that the fourth mobile operator will come with many advantages including reduced cost of making phone calls and other services.’ While the licence itself is not expected to be awarded until next year – the country’s digital TV migration project is expected to be completed by 2015, in line with a Southern African Development Community (SADC) deadline – it is understood that the government will begin receiving and evaluating bids this year.