ZICTA Extends 4th License Bid, 2 African and 1 British MNO bid so far

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ZICTA the telecommunications regulator in Zambia a few months ago opened the window for bidding of a fourth licence at a fee of ZMW1million. This followed the approval of a converged licensing framework by parliament, proposed by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. This entailed extermination of entry barriers to the telecommunications in Zambia. Only 2 licenses exist namely network and service which makes its easy for entry of additional players in the space. Two African and a British entity are in contention for bids to provide voice call services in the Southern African nation.

Currently only (3) MNOs – Airtel, MTN and Zamtel – are providing voice services and entry of an additional player will skew the market close to competitive from oligopolistic which could see data and airtime costs ease significantly. Zambia has been cited as a nation with one of the highest telecoms rates. The ZICTA tender deadline was extended to December to allow for more potential competitors to participate, Honorable Mushimba the Minister of Communication said in a telephone interview.

The tender should have ideally closed last Friday but was pushed to December the Minister confirmed. The Minister was hopeful that an additional MNO would improve quality of service for the 12million subscriber base to correct pricing anomalies in the sector. This represents a 75% penetration rate.

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