The Zambian government is making significant strides in accelerating the construction of telecommunication network towers to enhance connectivity throughout the country. This initiative, supported by tax waivers and concessions outlined in the 2023 national budget, aims to provide an enabling commercial environment for private sector investment, according to Technology and Science Minister Felix Mutati.
Minister Mutati emphasized that these incentives, including tax waivers, are already attracting investments in the sector. He expressed confidence that this intervention is achievable, prompting the Ministry of Technology and Science to revise its target of achieving 100 percent connectivity by 2030. Instead, the ministry aims to realign its goals to achieve the milestone by the end of 2024.
Minister Mutati applauded the efforts of IHS, a prominent firm in the industry, for erecting four network towers in the Kampampa area and an additional four in Mungule. These towers are expected to significantly improve mobile and internet connectivity for the local residents. The ongoing construction works on the towers have reached 90 percent completion, with service delivery enhancements expected within a month.
The minister noted that the national budget allocation facilitates investment growth and provides assurance of achieving 100 percent connectivity through the erection of 900 towers across the country. He revealed that IHS has committed to erecting 270 towers, while the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) will deliver 150 towers through the universal access fund this year alone.
“I am pleased with IHS’s innovative model, which allows for cost-effective service delivery. Operators can install their equipment on a single tower, eliminating the need for duplicating infrastructure in an area,” Minister Mutati stated.
He further explained that ZICTA has developed a regulatory protocol that encourages operators to co-locate their digital infrastructure on shared towers. This approach reduces congestion and optimizes the use of digital infrastructure, leading to improved service delivery.
Minister Mutati urged the private sector to focus on competing in service delivery rather than infrastructure rivalry, such as the number of towers installed. He believes that this model will revolutionize the country’s digital transformation journey.
Earlier today, Minister Mutati conducted a site tour of network towers being erected by IHS Zambia Limited in the Kampampa area of Lusaka West and the Apollo area. These developments signify the government’s commitment to expanding and improving telecommunication infrastructure to enhance connectivity and digital access for all Zambians.