The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) announced that Beeline Telecoms, the country’s fourth mobile phone network provider, will begin operations on June 30 this year.
Beeline was granted the fourth operator license in February of last year, with plans to begin operations in August or September, but could not do so, citing COVID-19-related challenges.
It then requested an extension from ZICTA to procure and install equipment, to which the regulator agreed.
Industry players, such as the Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA), have urged ZICTA to revoke the license due to the delays.
Hansford Chaaba, ZICTA’s interim corporate communications manager, stated that the Authority is convinced that the new operator will increase competition within the telecommunications sector, resulting in better customer service.
According to ZACA Executive Secretary Zuba Sakala, there is a strong possibility Beeline may not launch operations, as was the case with Uzi Zambia, which secured the license but failed to begin operations, ultimately resulting in the license being revoked.
Sakala told BMA Sources that the situation is of “great concern to ZACA” and called for the government’s urgent action.
“We are glad to announce that June 30, 2022, is fast approaching, and we can’t wait to have a fourth mobile phone operator because of the benefits that come with having more competitors in the market,” ZICTA’s Chaaba stated. We believe that the more companies in the market, the more consumers would benefit from services.”