The Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) has disclosed that the country’s fourth mobile network operator Beeline Telecom will launch commercial LTE-based services by the end of January 2023, Broadcast Media Africa reports. ZICTA Manager of Legal and Regulatory Affairs Banji Michelo was quoted as saying: ‘We granted an extension [from the previous launch target date of 30 June 2022] because the company was unable to commence operations due to challenges with the procurement process owing to COVID-19. But now the company will launch operations on January 31, 2023.’ The regulator also asserted that the locally-owned new entrant possesses sufficient financial capability to raise levels of competition in the Zambian telecoms sector.
Beeline Telecom – which won its operating licence in February 2021 – has claimed it will invest USD400 million and create more than 450 direct jobs via its mobile service launch. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that Zambia had approximately 19.2 million mobile subscriptions at end-September 2022, giving a cellular population penetration rate of about 95%, with Airtel currently leading in terms of subscription volume market share (nearly 42%), closely followed by MTN (around 39%), with Zamtel accounting for the remainder.