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MTN Zambia secures additional spectrum

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 24 Mar 2021

The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has awarded the country’s largest operator, MTN Zambia, additional spectrum at a cost of US$13.5-million to improve the quality of its voice and data services.

The additional spectrum, on the 800MHz frequency band, will reinforce the operator’s existing spectrum resources and utilisation.

In a statement, ZICTA said the company has proposed the introduction of a multimedia subsystem (IMS) in the core network to support the intended roll out of voice over long-term evolution (VoLTE).

Part of the statement reads: “The IMS is a standard high speed wireless communication which has great potential to offer better Quality of Experience for customers and could facilitate the increased adoption of ICT services in the country.”

ZICTA corporate communications manager Ngabo Nankonde said VoLTE has superior quality of service that will help MTN Zambia to leverage on the additional resources to extend the range and depth of its 4G coverage.

She said this is the second award of spectrum on the 800Mhz band by the Authority in less than three months. In December 2020, Ngabo said Airtel Networks Zambia Plc was also awarded spectrum in the same frequency band.

She added: “The authority therefore takes this opportunity to urge both MTN Zambia Limited and Airtel Networks Plc Zambia to expedite the process of enhancing the quality of their services (QoS) by efficiently utilising the newly acquired spectrum resources.”

Recently, ZICTA director general Patrick Mutimunshi blamed the low radio spectrum bandwidth given to operators for poor QoS in the country.

Mutimunsh said: “As the penetration of ICT services increases, there has been an observed degradation in the QoS being offered such as slow internet connections, dropped calls and connection challenges. This has partly contributed to the network congestion which can be resolved to some extent by increasing the amount of radio spectrum bandwidth assigned to service providers.”

ZICTA’s ICT sector annual market report for year 2020 shows that the total number of active mobile phone subscriptions has increased to 19.1 million in 2020 from 17.2 million reported in 2019, representing a penetration rate of 106.81%.

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