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UZI ‘oozes’ out

By SILUMESI MALUMO
GOVERNMENT says UZI has formally written to Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) that it will not enter the market following the expiry of the licence.
Minister of Transport and Communications Mutotwe Kafwaya has therefore instructed ZICTA to follow laid down procedure to identify a player willing to invest in the country as a fourth mobile service provider.
Mr Kafwaya said in a statement issued yesterday, Government would support the process to enhance competition and promote improved quality services and lower the tariffs for the benefit of the Zambian people.
The minister assured the public that Government remained open and committed to ensuring there was enough competition in the telecommunication sector.
Mr Kafwaya said UZI arrived at the decision following the refusal by ZICTA for an extension of 120 days after the expiration of the licence.
“Following the issuance of the licence, UZI was required to commence operations by March 2019. In February 2019, UZI requested ZICTA for an extension of the commencement date which was granted up to November. UZI requested for another extension in November 2019 on grounds that it preferred to roll out 5G for which the spectrum was allocated.
“They added that the roll out was dependent on confirmation of availability of spectrum in order to allow the manufacturer enough time to manufacture the necessary 5G equipment.
“ZICTA granted UZI’s request for the extension up to May 2020 on condition that UZI submits monthly progress to the authority to include implementation of the roll out plan, update on contracts with vendors and updates of acquisition of equipment.
After the extension expired in May UZI requested for a further extension period of 120 days which was rejected by ZICTA,” Mr Kafwaya said.

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