ZAMBIA has recorded significant increase in the number of mobile phone subscribers from 2.6 million in 2007 to 10.9 million in 2015 due to increased investment in the sub-sector by mobile service providers.
Similarly, the increase in subscriber base corresponds to an improvement in service penetration relative to the population from 22.5 percent in 2007 to 70.3 percent in 2015, in a country with over 14 million people.
Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) director for market competition and licences Mulenga Chisanga said this in Lusaka recently when he appeared before the parliamentary committee on communications, transport, works and supply.
The committee was discussing the role of information communication technologies (ICTs) in national development.
“The effectiveness of the ICT policy in increasing access to ICTs in Zambia has been mixed. There has been significant market improvement in access to mobile phone service,” Mr Chisanga said.
He said the global system for mobile communications (GSM) coverage, which is currently at over 80 percent of the country’s surface area, is expected to reach 100 percent in the next few years.
Mr Chisanga attributed the increase to the rise in investments into the network by all the mobile network operators and a regulatory programme to extend GSM infrastructure to the underserved and unserved.
He also said the number of internet users increased from 2.3 million in 2012 to five million in 2015 with majority users being through mobile cellular networks, who account for 99 percent.
This increase represents a 32.2 percent rise in 2015 compared to 17.3 percent in 2012.