Hot on the heels of the announcement earlier this week that UK telecoms giant Vodafone Group and sub-Saharan Africa 4G operator Afrimax Group had inked a new Partner Market agreement for Zambia, the local telecoms regulator has stressed that it has not issued a new mobile voice concession.
In a statement cited by local press outlet the Lusaka Times, the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) has clarified that Mobile Broadband Zambia Limited, which will trade as Vodafone Zambia, has not been granted a mobile voice licence. Head of Public Relations at the ZICTA, Ngabo Nankonde, confirmed that the company’s licence restricts it to offering internet services only, saying: ‘In light of the rising speculation from the general public and other stakeholders … the Authority wishes to dispel the perception that Mobile Broadband Zambia Limited, trading as Vodafone Zambia, is entering the market as a voice provider … Mobile Broadband Zambia Limited currently only holds the following licenses: 1. A class Network (wireless internet) licence; and 2. A class Service (internet) licence.’ These concessions, it was noted, will only enable the operator to construct a data network and to provide data services to the public. Stressing once more that the new player’s service offerings are restricted, Mrs Nankonde added: ‘Mobile Broadband Zambia Limited’s scope of operations and service offering are therefore strictly limited to the provision of mobile data services and not voice services.’
As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, under the non-equity agreement previously announced by Vodafone Group and Afrimax Group the companies themselves had, in fact, confirmed their intentions in line with regulatory restrictions. As such, the duo had revealed that they plan to offer customers high speed 4G data services under the Vodafone Zambia brand, with the service roll out including the opening of Vodafone branded retail stores and kiosks in key locations, with the operator’s presence to be bolstered by a network of distributors and resellers offering a full range of 4G handsets and devices. Vodafone Zambia will offer businesses of all sizes a range of connectivity products at retail and through direct sales channels, including 4G and Wi-Fi mobile data services, fixed internet and a suite of office solutions.