ZICTA extends consultation on proposed changes to licensing regime

5 May 2021

An extension to the deadline for comments on proposed revisions to Zambia’s licensing guidelines has been announced by the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA). Last month the regulator published a ‘Licensing Guidelines Consultation Paper’, in which it sought to outline the challenges identified in the current licensing framework – which was implemented back in 2017 – and propose revisions to it. Having initially set a deadline of 27 April 2021 for feedback regarding its plans, the ZICTA has now confirmed it will continue to accept submissions until 7 May.

Among the proposed changes, the ZICTA has said it intends to segment the current ‘Network Licence’ into two distinct categories: a ‘Network Facilities Licence’ (‘NFL’), and a ‘Network Service Licence’ (‘NSL’). According to the regulator, such separation is ‘aimed at recognising the specialised and unique business models associated with the two licences and provide for the appropriate regulatory oversight’. Meanwhile, through this revision the ZICTA has said it aims to achieve enhanced competition in the delivery of services and minimise the duplication of infrastructure.

Meanwhile, in terms of the other main revisions or additions to the licensing framework, these include: the renaming of the ‘Service Licence’ to ‘Application Service Licence’ (‘ASL’), in order to ‘make the categories broader’; the extension of the ASL to include an international market segment; the proposed introduction of a third category of the ASL for providers of VAS which require numbering resources; and the introduction of an NFL category focused on broadcasting ‘so as to provide clarity between providers of electronic communication networks and broadcasting signal distribution’.