ZICTA awards MTN Zambia radio frequency spectrum in 800MHz frequency band

The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has awarded MTN Zambia Limited (MTN), radio frequency spectrum in the 800 MHz frequency band at a cost of USD13.5 million.

The Mobile Network Operator intends to complement the utilisation of its existing spectrum resources with this additional spectrum to improve the quality of its voice and data services. In particular, MTN Zambia intends to introduce Voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE), a technology which has superior quality of service, and will leverage on the additional resources to extend the range and depth of its 4G coverage.

The company has also proposed to introduce a multimedia subsystem (IMS) in the core network to support their plans for the introduction of VoLTE. The IMS is a standard high speed wireless communication which has great potential to offer better Quality of Experience for consumers and could facilitate the increased adoption of ICT services in the country.

This is the second award of radio frequency spectrum in the 800 MHz frequency band by the Authority in less than three months. In December 2020, Airtel Networks Zambia Plc (Airtel) was also awarded Spectrum in the same frequency band.

The developments follow a determination made by the Authority last year, pursuant to Section 54(6) of the ICT Act No. 15 of 2009, determined that spectrum in the 800MHz band was on high demand and should therefore be subjected to a competitive granting procedure.

The decision to award spectrum in the 800MHz band to industry players was also aimed at enhancing the quality of experience for consumers as adoption and usage has continued to grow exponentially. According to the 2020 Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) Annual Market Report, active mobile telephone subscriptions increased from 17.2 million reported at the end of 2019 to 19.1 million subscriptions recorded at the end of 2020 reflecting an improvement of 10.9 percent.

The Authority therefore takes this opportunity to urge both MTN Zambia Limited and Airtel Networks Zambia Plc to expedite the process of enhancing the quality of their services by efficiently utilising the newly acquired spectrum resources.

The Authority wishes to congratulate MTN Zambia Limited for being awarded the spectrum and looks forward to seeing an impactful outcome of the recently assigned resources towards the development of the ICT sector.

Issued By: Ngabo Nankonde (Ms.) – Manager Corporate Communications, ZICTA.