Vodafone Zambia has been awarded a licence by the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) which will allow it to offer VoLTE services, it has announced. In revealing the development, the operator – which currently offers data-only plans over its LTE infrastructure – said it expects a commercial voice launch within the next three months, and claimed this will make it the first in the country to bring VoLTE technology to consumers. Vodafone Zambia CEO Lars Stork said: ‘We have consciously built in support for VoLTE in our 4G network and the tests we have conducted have shown tremendous results … Today our LTE network is solely used for data traffic, however our vision and strategy is to offer best in class data and now also voice over data on our 4G network.’
The development comes just a week after the ZICTA confirmed it will award the country’s fourth mobile network operator (MNO) licence to UZI Zambia Limited, a unit of Netherlands-registered Unitel International Holdings, part of the Angolan Unitel group. In the wake of this news, the regulator moved to quell speculation that Vodafone Zambia had been sidelined in the award of that concession, with the Lusaka Times citing ZICTA spokesperson Ngabo Nankonde as confirming that only two companies – UZI Zambia and Broadband Square Limited – had applied for the licence in question, with Vodafone Zambia opting not to apply.
With both Vodafone Zambia and UZI Zambia now set to enter the wireless voice market, they will join the nation’s three established MNOs MTN Zambia, Airtel Zambia and Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel).