Foreigners responsible for expensive telecom services

The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has stated that telecom costs in the country continue to be the highest in the region and this was partly because most of the players in the industry were foreigners.

“ZICTA acknowledges that the cost of using ICT services in the country has continued to be high and needs to be regulated. The tariffs being implemented are still unreasonable”, told Richard Mwanza, acting executive director for ZITCA, to the parliamentary committee on communications, transport, works and supply.

He proposed that a cost service survey is needed in order to address the issue, which would cost around US $1 million.

He also specified that the dominance of foreign players in Zambia’s telecom sector, due to sound financial support from their countries of origin, is affecting the telecoms industry, resulting in high telecom costs and less prospects for local players.

Mwanza added that local telecom and Internet providers lack financial support from the Government and should be given incentives to support them and benefit consumers.

Member of Zambian parliament, Ng’andu Magande, who chaired the meeting, confirmed that the high number of foreign telecom companies in the country was an issue that must be addressed.

“The problem is that in this area, we have too many foreigners and there is a likelihood that money is not staying in the country. There is need to monitor just how much of the money being made is circulating within our economy,” he said, adding that local players need strong capital to compete with foreigners.

Unfortunately, not many Zambian companies are interested in investing in ICT sector, even being given incentives, he concluded.

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