Amid suggestions that UZI Zambia Mobile – which was awarded Zambia’s fourth mobile network operator (MNO) licence in April 2018 – may yet have its concession revoked, the government is reported to have claimed that financial challenges are behind a fresh delay to the would-be operator’s launch. According to ITWeb Africa, Misheck Lungu, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Communication (MoTC), recently confirmed that Uzi was ‘in the process of mobilising funds’ with a view to enabling a commercial launch. Lungu was cited as saying: ‘Uzi has requested for an extension to enable it [to sort] out some hitches.’ No new timeline for the company’s entry into the sector was mentioned, however.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, with UZI having initially targeted a November 2018 launch, its original timetable was delayed after it struggled to secure the frequencies it needed to operate, formalise its operating licence, and recruit necessary staff. Having then said in December 2018 it was eyeing the introduction of a commercial offering in early 2019, by March that year it had been confirmed that the authorities had granted UZI yet more time to launch, with the ‘behind the scenes technical deployment’ expected to be complete between October and November 2019, and a commercial launch in the latter part of the year.