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Competition in data service heats up in Zambia

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 15 Feb 2016

Competition in data service heats up in Zambia

Computer Society of Zambia telecom analyst Amos Kalunga says he expects the number of internet users in the country to double in the next four years following the rapid expansion of mobile phone communication services.

Kalunga said the figures released by the Zambian Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) on the growth of internet users in the country are consistent with the current growth in mobile phone services in the Southern African country.

Last month ZICTA director for market competition and licences Mulenga Chisanga revealed that the number of internet users in Zambia has grown from 2.3 million in 2012 to 5 million in 2015 with the vast majority using mobile cellular networks.

Kalunga told ITWeb Africa that there are already signs that in the next few years, mobile coverage is expected to reach 100%. He said this has forced operators to compete more aggressively on data services which are becoming the main driver of communication in the country.

"A 2.7% growth in the number of internet users in just three years is a huge growth for a Zambian market that has just about 11 million mobile phone subscribers. The meaning of this is that in the next four years or so, the number of internet users is expected to double because more people are acquiring data enabled handsets while operators are also expanding their services," Kalunga said.

Last year, MTN Zambia, the country's largest mobile phone operator, promised to address the country's low internet penetration through the introduction of low-cost data services.

The company has since reduced the cost of data bundles with a 2GB data bundle now costing less than ZMK150, down from the previous price of close to ZMK200. It is also handing out free data bundles equivalent to the cost of a smartphone that is purchased from the company.

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