Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) president Chabuka Kawesha has challenged government to utilise space coordinates awarded to the country and consider space satellite launch.

Commenting on ZICTA’s decision to award Beeline a license to operate as the country’s fourth mobile phone service provider, Kawesha said ZICTA should go beyond awarding licences to launching satellites because space had already been available for the country.

“ZACCI has welcomed the continued full liberalization stance taken by the Ministry of Communications and Transport (MCT) through ZICTA. ZICTA has further opened up the telecommunications sub-sector by embracing an additional Mobile Network Operator (MNO). This will bring the number of MNOs with national and international access to four joining Airtel, MTN and ZAMTEL. Full liberalization across the economic sub-sector enhances competition and likely to promote price reductions in the cost of products and services received from the sub-sector. Meanwhile, as ZACCI we have called upon the Government to urgently look at Zambia utilizing its International Telecommunications Union (ITU) allocated Satellite slot or space coordinates and along for, and EPC+F or PPP space satellite launch. In the same manner and fashion we are liberalizing the MNO, ISP and Fibre Optic network operators we should move forward in commissioning a Zambian owned space satellite,” said Kawesha.

“As a developing nation we must embrace all avenues of increasing our telecom market space and influence. Satellite coverage will not only increase Research and Development in Zambia but will ensure connectivity countrywide, connectivity to all 6,000-plus schools, new pay TV Subscriber operators as well as the potential to move the ICT sector’s GDP contribution two-fold and an additional 38,141 indirect jobs in the short term. With the current COVID-19 situation the Ministry of Education will also be able to reach all schools thus teachings based on lecturer’s expertise can be done remotely. Further the Ministry of Health will be able to deliver tele-health and tele-medicine nationally via affordable remote platforms. Zambia should not be solely relying on terrestrial or ground technological infrastructure. The vast pool of young technical and telecoms experts from Copperbelt University, UNZA, UNILUS and many of our colleges and universities as well as those already in industry are eager to embrace satellite technology in Zambia. Lastly, it will accelerate the TORs and core objectives of the e-Government initiatives and enhance security of the nation.”