UK-based telecoms giant Vodafone Group is rumoured to have been awarded a mobile network operator licence to operate in Zambia, according to ITWeb Africa. Citing a source close to the company, the report claims that Vodafone is planning to launch operations in the country in either April or May 2016, with recruitment said to be underway at the University of Zambia for both employees and marketing agents. With both Vodafone Group and the local telecoms regulator – the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) – yet to confirm the concession award, however, there have also been no concrete details regarding how much the licence may have cost the UK firm, or how long it might be valid for.
The possibility of a new network operator in Zambia has been on the cards for some years, amid claims of poor quality of service and the high cost of communication offered by the nation’s three existing mobile phone operators MTN Zambia, Airtel Zambia and Zamtel. In November 2012 the state began the process of repealing the Statutory Instrument (SI) of 2010, which restricted the entry of a new mobile licensee. That same month saw claims that South Africa’s Vodacom Group – itself 65% owned by Vodafone Group – had been ‘secretly’ awarded Zambia’s fourth mobile licence, though such rumours were swiftly debunked by the country’s communications minister.