Zamtel Versus the Future

Zamtel it“The long-neglected fixed line infrastructure has been given a new lease on life.” Those are the words of Zamtel CEO, Mupanga Mwanakatwe, in an excerpt from a two years commemoration of Zamtel being a state-owned corporation. Having recently celebrated 100 years of being in existence, there is only the future left to look forward to in terms of mobile services. As a result, yesterday we caught up with Zamtel’s Corporate Communications Manager, Kennedy Mambwe, for a quick chat on where Zamtel is going and what they are doing.

First of all, I am sure everybody would like to know what’s with all the billboards of beautiful women, dashing men and cute children around the city of Lusaka and along the line of rail.  Well, according to Mr. Mambwe, the billboards are part of a strategy to re-position Zamtel as a youthful and vibrant brand. To Zamtel It! is for “every person, every household to live the Zamtel life.” This will mostly revolve around having a land line, cell phone and internet services all from one service provider which is Zamtel. This sounds kind of ambitious considering Zamtel only recently saw a dramatic rise in mobile subscribers back in 2011 after the private sector take-over. Nonetheless, in the words of John Lennon, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”

Zamtel Mobile Subscribers
Growth Chart of Zamtel Mobile Subscribers from 2006 to 2013

A question we couldn’t resist asking was concerning the recently concluded national SIM card registration exercise. We are itching for the numbers. How many people have been deactivated and how many were successfully captured? Unfortunately, these questions were shot down in the name of the government. The national SIM card registration was the brain child of ZICTA; therefore, it is ZICTA’s prerogative to announce the final statistics. Now we wonder why there is a delay since we hear that the numbers have already been submitted by the telecommunication companies as per deadline. What is going on? We are still waiting for a statement from ZICTA on this. All in all, Mr. Mambwe admitted that the SIM registraton exercise was a very delicate process. Apparently, data capturing and verification had to be done so diligently that some backlog was inevitable.

Out of curiosity, we wondered whether the completion of SIM registration also means that we will see caller identification being part of the packages being offered to customers in 2014. Sadly not! The mandate of KYC (Know Your Customer) is to serve the customers better. Interestingly, this provides a direct marketing avenue where mobile service providers will target advertisements based on the customer’s personal data, such as, age, birthday, and location. Mobile marketing will become the main driver of these campaigns as it is the future of marketing, said Mr. Mambwe. I nodded eagerly to this statement. It’s refreshing to hear a major company like Zamtel acknowledging the mobile revolution. In conclusion, the very cooperative and approachable Corporate Communications Manager  stated that, voice revenue is on the decline; therefore, internet data is the future of Zamtel.



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