3.5G mobile broadband services launched with up to 21Mb/s
This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Zambia’s telecommunications market.
Subjects covered include:
Market and industry overviews;
Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
The impact of the global economic crisis;
Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
The impact of access to international submarine fibre for a landlocked country;
Mobile voice and data markets, including 3G;
Internet and broadband development and pricing;
Average revenue per user;
Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile).
Zambia’s GDP growth has remained almost unaffected by the global economic crisis and is expected to reach 8% p.a. by 2015.
The country’s telecommunications market is dominated by mobile network operator Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain) which has a market share of around 65%. However, the fastest subscriber growth is currently seen by the runner-up, MTN (formerly Telecel) from South Africa. The third competitor in the mobile market is Cell Z, the mobile division of the national telco, Zamtel. Zamtel has been performing poorly in the mobile as well as the fixed-line sector, despite monopoly rights in the latter, including the international gateway. This has also limited growth in the internet and broadband sector, with some of the highest prices for international bandwidth on the continent.
The landlocked country has recently gained access to international submarine fibre optic cables for the first time, which has already led to some significant retail price reductions for broadband services. Third generation (3G) mobile broadband services were launched in early 2011 and national fibre networks are being rolled out by four different companies. Several ISPs have rolled out WiMAX wireless broadband networks. These developments are set to increase broadband penetration significantly in the coming years.
The future of Zamtel, in which the Libyan government holds a majority stake, is uncertain. The Zambian government reversed the sale in January 2012 on the basis that it was fraudulent and grossly undervalued, prompting legal action by LapGreen, Libyas foreign investment arm.
HSPA+ launched offering up to 21Mb/s
New international fibre connections lead to lower broadband prices;
Libyan-owned Zamtel may be renationalised;
Profiles of major players in all market sectors;
Estimates for mobile, fixed-line and internet market to end-2012;
Mobile market forecasts for 2013 and 2016;
Mobile ARPU remains weak as market penetration passes 50% mark.
Estimated market penetration rates in Zambia’s telecoms sector – end-2012
Market | Penetration rate
Mobile | 51%
Fixed | 0.6%
Internet | 9%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)
Companies covered in this report:
Zambia Telecommunications Ltd (Zamtel, LapGreen);
Cell Z (Zamtel);
UUNet Zambia; Microlink Technologies; AfriConnect;
Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO);
Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC);