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MTN Zambia pushes US$55m into fibre network

MTN Zambia pushes USm into fibre network

MTN Zambia has invested US$55 million to expand its local fibre network, according to CEO Charles Molapisi.

Molapisi said the money was invested last year alone in the fibre network running from the capital, Lusaka to Nakonde, a border town with Tanzania, and Kalumbila in North-Western province as well as in the Ndola metro on the Copperbelt.

He said MTN Zambia will continue to make investments in data infrastructure in order to provide connectivity to people in rural areas.

"We are in Zambia to stay and we mean business. We are working to bring internet closer to the people and we will continue investing," Molapisi said.

Recent statistics from the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) shows that the number of mobile internet users has dropped from 6.1 million to 5.2 million in just one year (2015 to 2016).

The 5.2 million mobile internet subscribers represent a 32.15% penetration rate compared to the 74.9% mobile phone penetration rate.

MTN Zambia, Airtel Zambia and Zamtel are the country's three operators providing mobile internet services to the country's 12 million mobile phone subscribers.

However, the cost of data services means these services are beyond the reach of many locals and believed to be the reason for the drop in the number of mobile internet subscribers, confirmed by the country's Minister of Communications and Transport Brian Mushimba.

Mushimba said the government is now considering bringing in the fourth operator in a bid to stimulate competition and force down both the cost of voice and data services.

However, authorities remain tight-lipped on details and it is understood that they are still busy with a policy framework to facilitate the entry of another operator into the market.

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