Uzi Zambia Postpones Network Launch Once Again

The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has announced that it has for the third time allowed Zambia's fourth mobile phone operator Uzi Zambia to postpone the rollout of its network.

Uzi, whose majority shareholder is Unitel International Holdings B.V in the Netherlands, received a network licence in March 2018, that would be valid for 15 years, to rival Zamtel, MTN Zambia and Airtel Zambia.

The network had been scheduled to launch in December 2018, but the launch was delayed because the company was reportedly not happy with some of the licence terms and conditions that had been issued by ZICTA.

In January 2019 Uzi released a statement confirming that it would now launch its operations in February 2019. In the statement, the mobile operator explained that the delay was the result of making sure all equipment was correctly installed and tested thoroughly.

Zambia’s Minister of Communications and Transport Dr Brian Mushimba confirmed the third postponement and declared that the launch would happen towards the end of the year.
Mushimba added that he was still confident that Zambia would have a new mobile phone operator before the year-end.
He claimed that Uzi had made significant progress in the preparations for the rollout its network.

However, very little detail has been given about this progress.

According to ZICTA, Uzi Zambia plans to install LTE technology nationally as part of their network which will support 4G and 5G technologies. It also aims to establish 100 access sites globally across unserved and under-served regions.

The company's initial investment is said to be US$350-million.

In the meantime, Zamtel has rolled out its 4G network in the capital Lusaka, a move that is expected to further intensify competition among operators.

The CEO of Zamtel, Sydney Mupeta said that a total of 256 sites are scheduled to be upgraded to the 4G network which will grant Zamtel blanket coverage in Lusaka.

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