By Brightwell Chabusha
Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has awarded Zambian owned Beeline Telecoms Limited the International Network and National Service licences to become the fourth Mobile operator with Associated Resources.
The licenses include but are not limited to frequency spectrum and numbers.
Beeline Telecoms Limited, a wholly Zambian owned company will, following issuance of the licence and associated conditions, will be required to commence operations within six months failure to which, unless determined otherwise by the Authority, the licence will be revoked.
The decision by the Authority to introduce a fourth mobile operator was arrived at, after conducting an analysis of the ICT Sector Market from the perspective of, among others, the quality of services being provided by the incumbent licensees as well as the need, or otherwise, to raise the levels of competition.
“This was in line with its regulatory mandate under the ICT ACT No. 15 of 2009, which includes the promotion of competition in the ICT sector. In September, 2020, the Authority invited, through the Request for Proposals, applications for a Network Licence under the International Market Segment and a Service Licence under the National Market Segment with associated resources,” ZICTA Director General Patrick Mutimushi has stated.
“Following a thorough evaluation process and Beeline, having met the minimum criteria, the Authority resolved to award the licences in question to Beeline Telecoms Limited. On September 4, 2018, ZICTA, under the guidance of the parent ministry – Ministry of Transport and Communications, issued a Network Licence under the International Market Segment and a Service Licence under the National Market Segment with associated resources to UZI Zambia. Unfortunately, UZI Zambia failed to commence operations by March 3, 2019, the final deadline issued by the Authority. This was notwithstanding two (2) earlier deadline extensions – the first being November 30, 2019 and the second May 30, 2020. The above scenario left the Authority with no choice but to cancel the licences issued to UZ! Zambia.”
Since UZI Zambia’s licence was cancelled and considering the fact that the challenges hounding the sector have continued, the Authority, re-embarked on seeking to licence a fourth mobile operator, he stated.
”It is this process that culminated into issuance of the licences to Beeline Telecom Limited,” Mr Mutimushi stated.