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Zambia’s ZICTA looks to refine 5G strategy

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 29 Jul 2021

As Zambia prepares to roll out 5G network infrastructure, the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has invited public consultation regarding its proposal for 5G spectrum bands.

ZICTA says the consultation is to share preliminary views and plans regarding the identified spectrum to facilitate the early rollout and commercialisation of 5G network, and to encourage immediate capacity extension for the existing broadband systems.

Respondents have until 20 August 2021 to submit their feedback. According to the regulator, the information gathered through the consultation will be factored into its spectrum planning and licencing decisions covering several areas including selecting priority bands for 5G, choosing an allocation strategy and identifying bandwidth requirements for operators.

The authority has singled out the 700 MHz, 2.6GHz, 26GHz and 3.5GHz bands as meeting all requirements for low, mid and high bad categories of spectrum required to meet 5G capacity and coverage requirements.

ZICTA said the 3.5 GHz has emerged as a key focus for 5G in several other countries and its it is engaging stakeholders directly to ascertain whether or not they consider this band to be vital for 5G development in Zambia.

“The authority seeks to consult key industry stakeholders on decisions and plans to facilitate for appropriate packaging and timely release of frequency spectrum in harmonised bands to promote upgrade of wireless broadband networks and accelerate 5G into commercial use in Zambia,” ZICTA stated.

In December last year, ZICTA awarded Airtel Networks Zambia 800 MHz frequency band, a move the authority said boosted Airtel’s 5G network rollout.

And in March this year, ZICTA awarded the same frequency to MTN Zambia at a cost of US$ 13.5 million.

ZICTA public relations manager Ngabo Nankonde said at that time: “The frequency awarded to MTN Zambia and Airtel Zambia would be used to enhance the spectrum management functions of the authority, thereby paving the way for quick introduction of 5G services for the very first time in the country.”

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