The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), has recently announced that the number of mobile phone subscribers in the country has grown at a rate of 19.5% per annum in the last 8 years, which has reached 10.9 million people out of a population over the 14 million and a service penetration of 70.3% in 2015.
The number of mobile phone subscribers is up from 2.6 million people and a service penetration of 22.5% in 2007 and is the result of further investments from mobile operators that increased the mobile network coverage according to ZICTA.
The results follow data collection for the 2015 Information Communication Technology (ICT) survey which began in the first week of August, 2015, and included data from both supply and demand sides to get details on access and utilization of ICTs in Zambia.
The announcement was done by ZICTA’s Director for Market Competition and Licenses, Mr. Mulenga Chisanga, whom in a recent meeting with lawmakers explained that even though the ICT policy in the country has had mixed results in the last years, the access to mobile phone services has significantly increased to reach current levels.
The mobile service operators have invested to extend the global system for mobile communication (GSM) coverage and in the coming few years it will reach the 100% from the current 80% of the country’s total surface area, Mr. Chisanga added.
In Zambia there are currently three mobile service operators with Airtiel Zambia topping the list in terms of market share accounting for 69% of the total mobile subscribers, followed by MTN Zambia with a market share over 30% and ZAMTEL, the state-owned telecommunications service provider, with a minimum participation.
According to ZICTA, a regulatory program to extend further the GSM to the under-served and unserved part of the population is currently being undertook since access to mobile services are of vital importance for the country’s development since they account for 99% of the total internet users that have grown to 5 million in 2015 up from 2.3 million in 2012.