Zambia is seeking bidders for a fourth mobile-network license to take on operators including market leader MTN Group Ltd, Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba said.
Mr Mushimba said in a recorded response to questions on Monday that the Ministry last week gave the go-ahead to the telecommunications regulator to start the process.
Mr Mushimba said the new carrier could be in place over the next six to 12 months and the country may even have capacity for a fifth operator.
The local unit of India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd and state-owned Zamtel make up the current trio.
Mr Mushimba said communication costs in Zambia have been “rather on the high side,”.
“The market analysis that we have done supports the fact that we can have a fourth licensee and possibly a fifth and still the market will be profitable.”
Zambia with a population of more than 16 million, had 12.4 million active mobile subscribers at the end of June, 10 percent more than a year before, according to data from the finance ministry.
The country had 5.9 million internet users by the end of June, a 3 percent rise from the figure at the end of December.
Almost all of these use mobile internet.