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By Michael Malakata , IDG News Service

The Communications Authority of Zambia (CAZ) has begun the reallocation of new frequencies to service providers to allow them to extend service to remote rural areas.

The reallocation follows CAZ’s replanning exercise, aimed at increasing the number of frequencies, which had run out in both urban and rural areas.

That replanning is now complete, and more spectrums are available in the lower and upper VHF (very high frequency) band for reallocation to the current licensed and future users in the country, said Ngabo Nankamba, CAZ public relations officer

The replanning conforms to international standards and provides enough spectrums to cover the whole country, he added.

Ngabo noted that the reallocation of spectrum officially began on July 1 and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

CAZ has threatened to cancel the operating licenses of service providers that fail to comply with the spectrum reallocation process.

The reallocation is meant to encourage service providers in the country to extend their services to rural areas. CAZ has already set aside US$4 million for mobile and Internet service providers willing to do so, and the Zambian government has promised tax holidays to such providers.