Zambia could soon get a fourth mobile operator after the government announced plans to repeal the statutory Instrument (SI) of 2010 that barred the entry of additional mobile operators.
Zambia’s transport, works, supply and communication minister Christopher Yaluma said a team of “technocrats is currently working on modalities that would ascertain the coming of a new player in the country.”
“There is still paper work that is being worked on before we go ahead and give a license to the fourth mobile operator, once all the paper work is done, we can allow a fourth operator to come and boost the communication sector,” he added.
He however clarified that the government had not yet received any application from any mobile operator since the market was opened for new operators.
According to the statutory requirement, the government cannot give a license to a new operator, until the telecommunications regulator goes into to and look at technical requirements, including the frequency where the operator will be operating.
“Most importantly we need to over ride the Statutory Instrument (SI) that stops the coming of the fourth mobile operator in the country,” he said.
The announcement has caused a lot of excitement in the country, as experts say that an extra operator will increase competition and drive the costs for users in the country.
Mobile network operator Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain) which has a market share of around 65 percent currently dominates Zambia’s telecommunications market. However, the fastest subscriber growth is currently seen by MTN (formerly Telecel) from South Africa. The third competitor in the mobile market is Cell Z, the mobile division of the national telco, Zamtel.