ZICTA’s New Promo Ban Decision Looks Like A Win for Mobile Operators


Last week the Zambia Information Communication and Technology Authority set out a ban to all mobile network operators to stop their promotions unless they start providing a better service to Zambian subscribers.


The halt on these promotions was due to the fact that ZICTA noticed there was a severe deterioration in the services provided by the 3 MN, Airtel, MTN and Zamtel, and wants them to do better.

ZICTA’s PR manager Ngabo Nankonde in a press statement said that the service downfall was most likely due to the congestion on all networks from the use of the mobile space by customers especially those with bonus airtime being given away in promotions by the MNOs.


What does this really do for the MNOs? Do they lose out? Not really. First of all the fact that this halt to promotions has come at a time of the year when everybody needs to keep in touch with their loved ones (i.e the festive season) means people will still have to communicate, bonus minutes or not. If not for the festive season, the end of the year is one of the busiest times in 12 months and communication has to happen. This is of benefit to the MNOs because all they will only then offer customers services at their normal, slightly expensive rates.


Subscribers  will pay for all their communication, with none being given for free to them so infact the MNO’s revenue increases. The possible losses/costs they incurred when running promotions or giving away free minutes/SMSes/data are now scrapped off and have been replaced with normal rates for all communication.

It makes one wonder what exactly the deal is here. The removal of these promotions is not exactly a punishment for MNOs if you really think about it. Customers will pay for services in full, mobile operators will make money, and business will still go on.

If anything the customer is the one losing out on some services they would otherwise not be able to afford. The bonus airtime they may have been dependent on is out of the picture for now. If they need to use a mobile service, they will pay. Their loss is the mobile operators gain.

Zambia is not the first country to do this. Earlier this year Nigeria had its mobile operators stop offering promotions and even banned the sale of new SIM cards in order to stop subscribers being added on to an already congested network. The MNOs there even paid fines to the telecommunications authority NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission) for such poor services. The fact is they paid fines. We’re not even sure the Zambian ones did after being taken to court for poor services by ZICTA.

So what exactly is the end game here? Are they in cahoots? We shall keep a close eye.

 Image Credit: Sticky Marketing


Tech Blogger & Marketer.

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