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Zambia: no fourth mobile license...yet

Zambia: no fourth mobile license...yet.

Zambia will not issue a fourth mobile license unless the country's three operators fail to improve services, according to the minister of Communications and Transport.

Shifting from the earlier position of issuing a fourth license in order to bring competition and reduce the cost of communication, Yamfwa Mukanga said they have resolved to allow the current three operators to improve their services as opposed to bringing another operator.

He said although the Zambian government has made serious progress in clearing the way for the much anticipated coming of the fourth operator in the country, the position has now changed and the license will not be issued unless the three operators fail to improve their services.

South Africa's Vodacom is said to be among the operators in the region that are eyeing a license in Zambia.

He said although the Zambian government was aware that the fourth mobile operator will bring competition and reduce the cost of communications and other services, it will not rush into issuing a fourth license until all efforts to improve services of the other operators are exhausted.

The Southern African currently has three operators-government owned Zamtel, MTN and Airtel that are seriously competing against each other for customers.

However, the three operators have so far failed to improve their networks forcing the country's telecom sector regulator, the Zambia Information and Communications Technology (ZICTA) to drag them to court over the poor services.

But Mukanga said the operators need to be given enough time to improve their networks.

"Plans to issue a fourth operators are still their but we can only do so when we are sure the three operators have failed to improve their services. For now, we will wait and see," Mukanga said.

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