Afrimax is ‘one of the largest 4G wireless voice and data communications providers across Sub-Saharan Africa’, and is trying to bring the Vodafone brand to many countries in the region. In 2014 they entered a partner market agreement with Vodafone to expand their footprint across the continent.
Afrimax as a Vodafone partner wants to provide high quality voice and data services to customers in their markets, using the fastest networks and having harmonized rates of access across them. Afrimax has a 4G operating licence in 12 servicing over 222 million consumers.
In Zambia, Afrimax will be launching as Vodafone in April, and will be offering residential and business communications services on the LTE backbone, riding on Liquid Telecom’s fibre network that will run to their base station. So far the network has been set up in Rhodespark, Roma, Woodlands, Chilenje and will work on Matero area of Lusaka. They will be running an operation similar to Vodafone Uganda that is runs on an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) model. So are they the 4th mobile operator Zambia will have? Yes.
Last year ZTE won a contact to supply Afrimax with equipment to support their TD-LTE rollout in Cameroon and Zambia, as reported by FierceWireless. ZTE would provide ‘LTE and evolved packet core (EPC) products covering wireless access, core networks, microwave transmission, value-added system, business support systems (BSS) and operating support systems (OSS) in the two markets’.
To continue expanding in the continent, Afrimax had raised $120 million to facilitate the growth of its LTE network in the region, as stated in this press release by the group. So in Zambia, ZTE will provide the equipment, while Liquid Telecom will provide the fibre connection.
‘Why are they using Liquid Telecoms network when Vodafone owns iConnect?’, you might ask.
Well it looks like iConnect isn’t a favorite among Zambian consumers anymore. Liquid through its retailer Hai have some of the fastest speeds in the ISP game and are an expected partner. iConnect doesn’t seem to be doing too well with many users flooding their FB page with complaints: