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Zain expands Zambia base

Lusaka, December 18, 2009

Zambia's largest mobile communication provider, Zain, has increased its subscriber base by about 11 per cent to 3 million in 2009 after investing over $50 million in its network, said its top official.

Managing director David Holliday said Zain Zambia, which had 2.7 million subscribers in 2008, planned to spend more on upgrading existing equipment and new technology in 2010 and improving its mobile internet service provision across Zambia.

"In excess of $50 million was spent this year alone on new equipment. This has enabled us to hit the 3 million target," Holliday told Reuters in an interview.

"We intend to invest tens of millions of dollars to get linked to the optic fibre cable on the east coast of Africa to make sure we are fully able to exploit the voice and data gateway to our advantage," Holliday said.

Holliday said Zain's connection to the network would greatly improve the provision of internet services, whose penetration the company expected to exceed that of voice in 2010.

Holliday added the Kuwait-based group had also applied to the Zambian government for a licence to introduce third generation technology, which has a provision for video link for mobile phone users, and hoped that would be granted in 2010.

"We have started tests on transmission 3G technology and will roll the service out as soon as the communications authority grants us the permission to proceed, hopefully next year," Holliday said.

Zain Zambia, which rivals Cell-Z, a subsidiary of state-owned Zamtel and MTN Zambia, a unit of Africa's biggest listed telecom firm, MTN of South Africa, has spent $500 million on improving its network since its inception in 1998.-Reuters




Tags: Zain | Zambia |

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