Government says once the project to construct 1,009 communication towers across the country by Zambia telecommunications company network (ZAMTEL) is completed, it will increase mobile coverage and access to telecommunication services.
Transport and communications Minister, Brian Mushimba said the project which commenced in the fourth quarter of 2017 has already yielded 172 completed towers with another 300 more expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Mr. Mushimba said this in speech read on his behalf by North-Western Province Assistant Permanent Secretary, Beatrice Muyambango during the launch of a communication tower by ZAMTEL in Solwezi yesterday.
He said the construction of communication towers in North-Western Province and other parts of the country shows the importance that government attaches in ensuring that every region in the country is given support to facilitate economic growth.
Mr. Mushimba said government is paying special attention to the province because it recognizes that it as the future of mining in Zambia.
Meanwhile, ZAMTEL Chief Executive Officer, Sydney Mupeta disclosed that the province currently has 30 sites with communication towers and the project aims at increasing the number to 163 which will extend coverage to all parts of the region.
“Once we complete this roll out, the entire North-Western Province including, Mwinilunga, Zambezi, Manyinga, Kabompo, Kalumbila, Kasempa and Ikelengi among others will be properly covered,” Mr. Mupeta said.
He said government is deliberately implementing the project in the region because it is one of the country’s priority areas of investment due to its immense economic potential.
Mr. Mupeta said the company has implemented 4.5G sites in Solwezi in order to enable subscribers in the province to access internet at high speed.
He explained that ZAMTEL has received complaints in the past regarding the low quality of network in the province and is currently building an optical fibre backbone to link the area to Copperbelt Province as a way of addressing the challenge.
Mr. Mupeta also stated that the introduction of the 30 ngwee user fee to all subscribers using overtop applications such as WhatsApp to make voice calls will enhance the capacity of local operators such as mobile service providers to provide employment to Zambians and to help them to continuously upgrade their networks.