The Zambian government is in the process of cancelling the phone mobile network licence it granted to Unitel International Holdings B.V, (Uzi Zambia), the Watchdog is aware.
Unitel International Holdings is owned by Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former president Edwardo dos Santos. In March 2018, Zambia granted Unitel International, through Uzi Zambia, a licence to operate Zambia’s fourth mobile phone.
Under the corrupt influence of former minister of communication and Transport Brian Mushimba, Uzi Zambia was granted a licence valid for 15 years, to compete against MTN Zambia, Airtel Zambia and Zamtel.
Uzi Zambia was supposed to launch operations in December 2018 but failed to do so.
In January 2019 Uzi issued a statement claiming it would launch operations in February 2019 and said the delay was the result of making sure equipment was properly installed and thoroughly tested. This launch also did not
Brian Mushimba, who was the Minister of Communications and Transport confirmed the third postponement and said the launch would take place towards the end of the year.
“The project completion of the behind the scenes technical deployment is October or November 2019,” he said.
The Watchdog has now been informed that Uzi has failed to meet the conditions specified in the licence granted to it by the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA).
According to government officials, Uzi Zambia was depending on Mushimba to change the licence conditions to its favour. Mushimba is said to have received a lot of money from Angola to pick Uzi Zambia as fourth mobile operator when he knows it had no capacity and there were many credible operators that applied.
Due to Mushimba’s corruption, the ministry will have to restart the process of looking for a fourth mobile operator, though it is understood that MTN, Airtel are also making their own behind the scene efforts to make sure that there is no fourth competitor.