UZI Zambia Limited exits market after expiry of their commercial launch

ZAMBIAUZI Zambia Limited, a mobile phone operator, has formally written to the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) informing them that they will not be entering the market following the expiry of their extension. 

In May 2020, Uzi requested for further extension for a period of 120 days which was rejected by ZICTA. 

Following the issuance of Licenses in September 2018, Uzi was required to commence operations by March 2019 but in February 2019 requested ZICTA for an extension of the commencement date which extension was granted up to November 2019. 

However, in November 2019, Uzi requested for a further extension on grounds that it preferred to roll out 5G as opposed to 4G for which the spectrum was allocated. 

Uzi added that the roll out was dependent on confirmation of availability of spectrum in order to allow the 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 implementation of the roll out plan, update on contacts with vendors and update of acquisition of equipment. 

Announcing the development in a statement, Minister of Transport and Communications Mutotwe Kafwaya assured the nation that government remains committed and open to ensuring that there is enough competition in the telecommunications sector. 

Mr Kafwaya said it is still Government’s policy to enhance completion in the ICT sector for the benefit of the Zambian people. He directed ZICTA to go back to the market following the laid down procedures and identify a player who is willing to invest in the country as a 4th mobile operator. 

Mr Kafwaya said government will support the process to enhance competition and promote improved quality of service and lower the tariff for the benefit of the Zambian people. 

UZI Mobile Limited is a subsidiary of the Dutch-headquartered and global Unitel International Holdings BV. 

Since 2017, active mobile-phone subscriptions in Zambia rose 3.4% to 12.4 million, according to the Finance Ministry, compared to the country’s population of about 16.5 million. 

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