…UZI Zambia Limited ‘Chickens Out’ confirms Transport and Communications Mutotwe L. Kafwaya
Republic of Zambia
MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS
The Public may wish to know that in 201 7, Cabinet approved a new licensing framework for the ICT sector which was aimed at realigning and promoting competition in the sector The new licensing framework paved the way for the entry of new players in mobile network providers in the market after the expiry of the moratorium imposed by Statutory Instrument No. I I l of 2009 which limited mobile operators in the sector to three.
Following the Cabinet decision, the Ministry of Transport and Communications through ZICTA, issued new licensing Guidelines which among others, sought to create more competition in the ICT sector.
Subsequently, on 26th September 2017, ZICTA proceeded to invite proposals which culminated into the issuance of a notification of award for a network licence under the International Market Segment and Service Licence with Associated resources to UZI Zambia Limited in March 2018.
On 15th May 2018, a meeting was held between ZICTA and UZI to discuss the financial and technical requirements of the licence. ZICTA also conducted a due diligence exercise to assess among other issues, the actual status of UZI investments abroad.
This led to the issuance of the licences to UZI.
Following the issuance of these licences, UZI was required to commence operations by March 2019.
In February 2019, UZI requested ZICTA for an extension of the commencement date which extension was granted up-to November 2019.
UZI requested for a further extension in November 2019 on grounds that it preferred to roll out 5G as opposed to 4G for which the spectrum was allocated.
They added that the roll out was dependant on confirmation of availability of spectrum in order to allow the manufacturer enough time to manufacture the necessary 5G equipment.
ZICTA granted UZI’s request for the extension up-to May 2020 on condition that UZI submits monthly progress reports to ZICTA to include, among others, the following:
(a) Implementation of the roll out plan; (b) Update on contracts with vendors; and (c) Updates of acquisition of equipment.
In May 2020, UZI requested for a further extension for a period of 20 days which was rejected by ZICTA.
The Public may wish to know that UZI has formally written to inform ZICTA that they would not be entering the Market following the expiry of their extension.
Government wishes to assure the Zambian public that it remains open and committed to ensuring that there is enough competition in the telecommunication/lCT sector.
It is still government policy to enhance completion in the ICTS sector for the benefit of the Zambian people.
Accordingly, ZICTA should go back to the Market following the laid down procedures and identify a player who is willing to invest in the country, as the 4th mobile operator. Government will support the process to enhance competition and promote improved quality of services and lower the tariff for the benefit of the Zambian people.
Hon. Mutotwe L. Kafwaya
MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS
I June, 2020
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