The decision follows an analysis of the market which revealed deficiencies in the quality of services by the current operators and the need to stiffen competition.
ZICTA has announced that it has granted Beeline Telecom Limited a licence to commence mobile phone operations in Zambia.
Beeline Telecom, a Zambian wholly owned company, will be required to commence operation within the next six months failure to which, unless determined otherwise by the Authority, the licence will be revoked.
Currently, the mobile service operators include South African telecoms MTN, Airtel and local telecoms firm Zamtel. The local company has been offered the international network and national services licences with associated resources and becomes the fourth mobile network services provider in the country.
Speaking about the license, Patrick Mutimushi, Director General of Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), said: This was in line with its regulatory mandate under the ICT ACT No. 15 of 2009, which includes the promotion of competition in the ICT sector. In September, 2020, the Authority invited, through the Request for Proposals, applications for a Network License under the International Market Segment and a Service License under the National Market Segment with associated resources.
Mutimushi added: Following a thorough evaluation process and Beeline, having met the minimum criteria, the Authority resolved to award the licenses in question to Beeline Telecoms Limited. On September 4, 2018, ZICTA, under the guidance of the parent ministry Ministry of Transport and Communications, issued a Network License under the International Market Segment and a Service License under the National Market Segment with associated resources to UZI Zambia. Unfortunately, UZI Zambia failed to commence operations by March 3, 2019, the final deadline issued by the Authority. This was notwithstanding two (2) earlier deadline extensions the first being November 30, 2019 and the second May 30, 2020. The above scenario left the Authority with no choice but to cancel the licenses issued to UZ! Zambia.