In 2020, demand for broadband connectivity has exploded in Zambia due to Covid-19. According to the telecoms regulator, this need will grow even stronger. Airtel Zambia wants to take advantage of this by acquiring resources to improve its network capabilities.
The mobile operator Airtel Zambia has offered itself a frequency spectrum of 20MHz in the 800MHz band. The acquisition of this resource – put on sale from September to November 2020 by the Information and Communication Technology Authority of Zambia (Zicta) through a tender – cost it USD 12.5 million.
In its report on the national ICT market for the first half of 2020, published in August 2020, the telecoms regulator already announced the marketing of this new spectrum, to enable telecom operators to meet the strong need for connectivity aroused from the start. of the year 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic.
With a volume of 9.3 million mobile Internet subscribers in June 2020, up 3.3% compared to June 2019, Zambia has indeed seen its data traffic explode by almost 95%. It went from 26.327 terabits in the first half of 2019 to 51.253 terabits in the first half of 2020. The telecoms regulator also estimated that this traffic could turn out to be more important at the end of 2020.
The 20MHz spectrum which offers wider telecoms coverage and network capacities close to 5G, only Airtel Zambia has obtained. It represents an additional business opportunity for the telecoms company as well as for local start-ups, whose digital products and services will be able to reach new market niches hitherto poorly covered in broadband telecom services.
For Zicta, Airtel Zambia’s new telecom spectrum will also contribute to “increased adoption of ICT services by consumers which will increase revenues generated by the telecom sector”. This increase in income will benefit the public treasury, which will take advantage of it to materialize short and medium-term plans for resuming national economic growth.