Beeline Telecom awarded Zambia’s fourth mobile licence
The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has awarded a fourth mobile phone operator licence to Beeline Telecom Limited, a wholly-owned local company.
The company is now permitted to provide operate a local and international network services and is expected to start operations in the next six months - and failure to do so will result in the licence being revoked, warned ZICTA.
In September last year, ZICTA director general Patrick Mutimunshi said following cancellation of the Uzi licence and amid ongoing challenges facing the sector, the Authority invited applications for a network licence under the international market segment and a service licence under the national market segment, with associated resources.
Mutimunshi said Beeline met the minimum criteria. “The decision was looked at from among other things, the quality of service being provided by the incumbent licensee as well as the need to raise the levels of competition. It is this process that culminated into the issuance of the licence to Beeline Telecom Limited.”
ZICTA cancelled the Uzi Zambia licence last year after the company failed to launch operations, despite several deadline extensions.
The regulator has remained tight-lipped on who owns Beeline Telecom company, when it was formed, who the directors are and how much money the company will invest in the network.
When operational, the company will compete with South Africa’s MTN Zambia, India’s Airtel Zambia and the state-run Zamtel.
Zambia’s Minister of Communications and Transport Mutotwe Kafwaya said the government is committed to the promotion of competition in telecommunications and that this will result in a reduction in the high cost of communication.
Beeline has not commented on the development.