Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba says government is impressed with the improved performance of state run telecoms firm Zamtel.
Mr. Mushimba explained that Zamtel has now become profitable having posted some profits over the last few months.
He said government is confident that newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Sydney Mupeta and the installation of a new board will further improve the performance of Zamtel.
Mr. Mushimba was speaking on Thursday when he featured on a live Burning Issue radio programme on 5 FM Radio.
“The Zamtel story currently is very good. As government, we have seen the Zamtel story changing. The company is now in a very good position to compete favourably on the market,” Mr. Mushimba said.
The Minister was responding to a question on how the coming in of a fourth mobile phone provider will affect Zamtel and other mobile phone companies.
Mr. Mushimba said government carried out a thorough market analysis which showed that the Zambian mobile phone sector still had room for more players.
“It is true we don’t want to kill our own child and destroy the market. If you look at MTN, Airtel and Zamtel, they have all heavily invested in this market but our own assessments have shown that the market is robust and big enough to accommodate more players,” Mr. Mushimba said.
Mr. Mushimba stated that all the three mobile phone companies will remain profitable even after the entrance of new players.
“Currently Zambia has around 12 million mobile phone users out of the 15 million people, that is around 75 percent of the population. Our target is to take it to 100 percent coverage. So there is still room for a fourth licence holder,” he said.
Mr. Mushimba said has been modernizing its systems and back bone upgrades and will soon be implementing the phase two of the tower installation project.
“We have communicated to Zamtel to keep improving and become aggressive and as government we are happy with the efforts in that regard. So I know they will be able to compete fairly and squarely,” Mr. Mushimba said.
He added, “with the coming in of the new CEO and the Board, we are confident this will help improve the governance structure at Zamtel and everyone there now has performance contracts and targets to achieve.”
Mr. Mushimba said the coming in of a new licence holder will generate job opportunities and offer tax collection opportunities and increase competition which will in turn improve the quality of service.