Following elections held in August 2021, Zambia's new government immediately established a Ministry of Technology and Science to promote the use of ICT in developing economic growth and social inclusion. This focus on ICT, and on telecoms in particular, has been central to government strategies for some years.
As part of the Smart Zambia initiative, investment has been made in data centres, a computer assembly plant, ICT training centres, and a Smart Education program. These efforts have been combined with the extension of broadband access and improved connectivity to international submarine cables. In turn, this has resulted in a considerable reduction in fixed-line and mobile access pricing for end-users.
Mobile network operators continue to invest in 3G and LTE-based services, while the government also contracted Huawei to upgrade the state-owned mobile infrastructure for 5G services. Delays in holding spectrum have stymied the development of 5G thus far. However, in mid-2021 the regulator completed a consultation of auctioning low, medium, and high band spectrum for 5G, aiming to provide sufficient spectrum to meet the anticipated increase in data traffic in coming years.
Fixed-line broadband services remain underdeveloped, though MTN Zambia has initiated an FttP program, initially in Lusaka.
BuddeComm notes that the pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure.
Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.
On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.
Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.
The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.
- Regulator awards a mobile licence to the locally-owned telco Beeline Telecoms, considers revising the licensing regime;
- Regulator consults on spectrum bands to be auctioned for 5G;
- Government establishes a Ministry of Technology and Science to promote the use of ICT;
- Paratus Group opens a carrier-neutral data centre in Lusaka;
- Huawei contracted to upgrade state-owned mobile tower network for 5G;
- MTN Zambia announces FttP rollout plans via its ‘Connected Home’ initiative, launches micro lending service Kongola;
- National Data Centre opens as part of the government’s Smart Zambia project;
- Report update includes the regulator’s market updates to June 2021, operator data to Q2 2021, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.
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Developing Telecoms market report summaries are produced in partnership with BuddeCom, the world’s largest continually updated online telecommunications research service.
The above article is a summary of the following BuddeCom report:
Report title: Zambia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses
Edition: November 2021
Analysts: Henry Lancaster
Number of pages: 154
Companies mentioned in the report: Zambia Telecommunications (Zamtel, LAP Green); MTN Zambia; Bharti Airtel; Cell Z (Zamtel); ZamNet; Coppernet Solutions; UUNet Zambia; Microlink Technologies; AfriConnect; Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO); Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC); Comium
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For more information or to purchase a copy of the full report please use the following link: https://www.budde.com.au/Research/Zambia-Telecoms-Mobile-and-Broadband-Statistics-and-Analyses/?r=83