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Zambia announces $272million mobile phone tower plan

Zambia announces mobile phone tower plan.

The Zambian government plans to build 469 mobile phone communication towers at a cost of $272 million.

Government-owned telecommunications company Zamtel (Zambia Telecommunication Company) has been appointed to own, manage and maintain the planned infrastructure.

The Southern African country's minister of Communications and Transport Dr Kapembwa Simbao told lawmakers that the towers will be distributed across the country's ten provinces, including rural areas, in order for everyone to benefit from mobile phone communication services.

Delivering his ministerial statement in Parliament, Simbao said the government wants to empower Zamtel so that it can improve its service delivery and expand its services.

"The construction of the mobile phone communication tower will be financed through a concessional loan facility," Simbao said.

The new towers will complement the existing 169 already constructed, via the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA), in rural areas of the country.

The 169 towers are owned by ZICTA and shared among the country's three mobile phone service providers, Airtel, MTN and Zamtel.

However, the government wants the new towers to be solely owned and managed by Zamtel.

The move is expected to grow Zamtel's market position because it will expand its reach and delivery services to rural areas and compete with rival operators that have expanded their networks.

Currently, Zamtel is Zambia's smallest operator with less than 2 million customers while MTN is the country's largest operator followed by Airtel.

Simbao did not disclose when the project will start as he said the government is still pushing for the loan facility.

The Zambian government says its aim is to connect all rural areas in order to minimise communication problems.

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