Vodafone Zambia loses network and services licences

Vodafone Zambia loses network and services licences, plus spectrum

01 October 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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The company running a mobile network under the brand Vodafone Zambia has lost its licence to operate.

The regulator gave Afrimax notice that its network and services licences will expire on 20 October.

The decision – approved by the board of the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) – brings to an end the company’s attempt to find a new owner.

The company had issued an invitation to potential bidders after existing shareholders had failed to provide more finance.

in July, director Mutale Kapaso told the Lusaka Times that she expected a sale to be completed in August, noting that the company was going through a business rescue process, the Zambian equivalent of administration or of Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Act.

The owner, Afrimax, had said that it was looking for a new CEO to replace Lars Stork, who had retired, and was planning other changes. But all has been fruitless. The company website is now unavailable, returning the message: “www.vodafone.zm’s server IP address could not be found”.

Emmanuel Musonda, chair of ZICTA, said in an official statement that the company “has ceased to fulfil its eligibility requirements … by not being technically and financially capable of meeting the obligations and the terms and conditions of the licence”.

The regulator has also withdrawn the spectrum issued to the company.

Vodafone Zambia, which licensed the name from the Vodafone group, offered 4G data-only services to its customers.

ZICTA said it is aware that this “comes with great inconvenience to a lot of consumers that have subscribed to the network” and said it expected that the company “will address all consumer issues as [a] result of this cancellation”.