Virus impact over each market - telecom operators, government agencies and regulators' responses - revised forecasts for the next 5 years.
Zambia has focussed on developing ICTs to spur growth in the digital economy. As part of the Smart Zambia initiative, investment has been made in data centres, a computer assembly plant, ICT training centres and a Smart Education program. These efforts have been combined with the extension of broadband access and improved connectivity to international submarine cables. In turn, this has resulted in a considerable reduction in fixed-line and mobile access pricing for end-users.
The government’s Universal Access Fund has made measurable progress in delivering telecom services to underserved areas, particularly in its funding the GRZ Communication Tower project which will see 1,010 towers installed by the end of 2020.
Separately, mobile network operators continue to invest in 3G and LTE-based services, while the government also contracted Huawei to upgrade the state-owned mobile infrastructure for 5G services.
Fixed-line broadband services remain underdeveloped, though MTN Zambia has initiated an FttP program, initially in Lusaka.
BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.
On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.
Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.
The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.
Zambia Telecommunications (Zamtel, LAP Green); MTN Zambia; Bharti Airtel; Cell Z (Zamtel); ZamNet; Coppernet Solutions; UUNet Zambia; Microlink Technologies; AfriConnect; Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO); Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC); Comium.
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