According to local press reports, UZI Zambia Mobile, the latest operator entrant in the Zambian mobile market, is still not up and running, despite acquiring a concession to operate in Zambia as long ago as April 2018.
The authorities have now given UZI until May this year to pull together the funding it needs to ensure a launch, which was originally set for late 2018. It seems that, at the time, it was unable to secure the frequencies it needed to operate, to formalise its operating licence, or to recruit necessary staff, meaning that the start date was postponed until early 2019 and then late 2019. It is now looking for funding for a 2020 launch.
UZI is a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Unitel International Holdings, a financial services company that apparently has links with Angola.
It is still not certain whether the company will get the funding or whether it will be able to operate effectively if it does. However, an interview with Patrick Mutimushi, director general of the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority, indicated that this may be UZI’s last chance. Mutimushi was quoted as saying that the authorities are monitoring progress on a monthly basis and that it was still possible that the licence to operate could be withdrawn from UZI.