The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) says it could soon issue a fifth mobile licence in a bid to increase competition.
ZICTA Director General Patrick Mutimushi said a fifth operator could compete with MTZ Zambia, Airtel Zambia, Zamtel and Uzi Zambia, which is yet to begin operations.
“There is still the possibility of us accommodating a fifth operator that can still be able to make profit because at the end of the day, the operations must be sustainable,” Mr Mutimushi said.
Mr Mutimushi noted that the regulator’s priority was to ensure competition in the market, saying: “The new licensing regime that we have has opened up the market for anyone to come in the country and invest.”
He said government has conducted an analysis of the market which concluded that a fifth operator would not impact profitability in the wireless sector.
With rates for voice and data services currently high, the Zambian government is keen to push down prices by introducing greater competition.
While Mr. Mutimushi did not provide detail of the immediate future of Uzi Zambia, he said the authority did not get the results it wanted from the fourth operator.
According to the Minister of Communications and Transport Mutotwe Kafwaya, Uzi has assured authorities of its readiness to launch operations in May following a six-month extension granted in November 2019.
Mr. Kafwaya said he is confident the operator will launch this time because “it still has over three months to complete the remaining work.”