ZICTA fifth national operator

ZICTA paves way for fifth national operator

20 February 2020 | melanie mingas

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Patrick Mutimunshi has reportedly stated that a fifth mobile network operator (MNO) in the country could address the persistently high cost of voice communications.

The director general of Zambia’s Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), has reportedly stated that a fifth mobile network operator (MNO) in the country could address the persistently high cost of voice communications.

Patrick Mutimunshi is quoted by local media as saying that the national marketplace could support a fifth service provider.

“The new licensing regime that we have has opened up the market for anyone to come in the country and invest,” Mutimunshi said.

“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,” he added.

The Zambian government has conducted a market analysis to back up Mutimunshi’s optimistic outlook, and states that another player is likely to reduce the high cost of voice communications across the country currently.

MNOs MTZ Zambia, Airtel Zambia and Zamtel already operate in Zambia, with Uzi Zambia due to launch services soon.

However, a five-player marketplace could be short lived, as ZICTA has stated intentions to revoke the license held by Uzi Zambia. The MNO entered the market in March 2018 and was granted a six-month extension on its launch late last year.

This isn’t the first time ZICTA has taken a heavy handed approach to market regulation. Back in 2013, the regulator filed criminal lawsuits against Airtel Networks Zambia, MTN Zambia and Zambia Telecommunication Company (Zamtel) for “failure to meet minimum standards”.