Uzi brings much-needed competition to Zambia's telecom industry


The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has reported a 90.3% mobile phone subscription penetration rate.

According to Q1 2019 statistics, the number of mobile phone subscribers has risen to 15.7 million, up from 15.5 million in just one quarter.

The increase is attributed to, among other things, the expansion of networks by mobile phone network operators who are aggressively competing for customers and a population that is more digitally aware.

Last year, the regulator warned that the intensive customer acquisition campaigns initiated by MTN Zambia, Airtel Zambia and Zamtel have pushed the country's market towards the saturation point.

Zambia's minister of Communications and Transport Dr Brian Mushimba said he expects the local mobile market to grow more this year after the entrance of Uzi Zambia Limited, the country's fourth licensed operator.

Mushimba said the new network being established by Uzi will cover the country and represents direct competition for the three other operators in terms of quality of service and cost.

He said Uzi will launch by October 2019 and that government was happy that the competition that will result will benefit consumers.

"Where competition is, consumers always benefit because the companies are going to compete on quality of service, they are going to compete on the price of service and they are going to compete on the reach of the service," Mushimba said.

ZICTA's statistics also shows that the number of mobile internet users has increased to 10.2 million from 9.8 million, representing a 58.9% penetration rate.