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By Michael Malakata, Computerworld Zambia


The Zambian government has announced it will introduce unified licenses to cater to diverse telecommunications operations including mobile telephony, Internet services, satellite transmission, broadcasting and other related technologies.


Zambia joins many other African countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Nigeria in providing one license for an array of services in order to attract investment by international service providers who feared to invest in the country because of restrictive license conditions.


Several African countries are now focusing on the provision of data, Internet backbone and video conferencing in addition to voice services to boost telecom in the region through harmonization of license procedures.


The move by the Zambian government to introduce one license for the telecom services follows the applications by Zambian mobile service providers and media organizations for licenses that would enable service providers to operate 3G services.


“Operators in Zambia had applied for licenses to introduce and operate third-generation telecom services, and I’m now taking a bill to parliament that would allow us to introduce unified licenses,” said Minister of Communications and Transport Dora Siliya.


Pan-African mobile service provider Zain and the Press Association of Zambia (PAZA) last year lobbied a parliamentary committee on information and broadcasting to make adjustments that would address issues of IT convergence. PAZA is an association for the media industry in Zambia.


The announcement to introduce unified licenses comes only a few days after Siliya announced that the Zambian government was also deregulating the international gateway in order to promote competition and investment in the telecom sector.


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