The Zambian government has announced plans to build 469 mobile phone communication towers at a cost of $272 million. Government-owned telecommunications company Zamtel (Zambia Telecommunication Company) has been appointed to own, manage and maintain the planned infrastructure.
Dr Kapembwa Simbao, Zambia’s minister of Communications and Transport, told lawmakers that the towers will be distributed across the country’s ten provinces, including rural areas, in order for everyone to benefit from mobile phone communication services. He stated that the government wants to empower Zamtel so that it can improve its service delivery and expand its services
“The construction of the mobile phone communication tower will be financed through a concessional loan facility,” Simbao said.
The new towers will complement the existing 169 already constructed, owned by the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) and shared among the country’s three mobile phone service providers, Airtel, MTN and Zamtel, in rural areas of the country. However, the government wants the new towers to be solely owned and managed by Zamtel.
The move is expected to grow Zamtel’s (Zambia’s smallest operator with less than 2 million customers) market position as it will expand its reach and delivery services to rural areas and compete with rival operators that have expanded their networks.
The Zambian government says its aim is to connect all rural areas in order to minimise communication problems.
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