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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« on: January 30 2009 »

The Zambian government has finally bowed to pressure to deregulate the country's international telecommunications gateway in order to promote competition and foreign investment in the sector and lower the high cost of communications.

Zambia's international telephone calls are among the highest in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region. The World Bank and private mobile service providers including Zain and MTN have been pushing the Zambian government to liberalize international gateways in order to reduce the high cost of communication and the cost of doing business in the telecom sector.

Minister of Communications and Transport Dora Siliya (who was previously vehemently opposed) said her ministry has been carrying out comprehensive consultations and addressing all concerns from service providers before fully liberalizing the international gateway.

After the consultations, Siliya said, "We should be able to undertake the full liberalization of the international gateway. I'm therefore taking a bill to parliament that seeks to liberalize the gateway to help improve telecom service in Zambia."

The Zambian government had pegged the international gateway license fee at US$18 million, which service providers said was prohibitive. The new cost of the international gateway has however, not yet been revealed.

(Source: Computerworld / balancingact-africa)
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