Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.


Zambia's regulator revises 5G spectrum roadmap

Article Image
The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has updated its roadmap for the issue of spectrum in the 700MHz, 2600MHz and 26GHz bands, some of which will help the country launch with its 5G ambitions.

Due to high demand, 700MHz frequencies which had initially been expected to be released in the first quarter of 2023 will now be issued earlier, in the third quarter of 2022, ZICTA said.

The Zambian regulator has also pushed back the sale of 26GHz spectrum that was scheduled for the third quarter of this year – into the fourth quarter.

"These critical changes to the roadmap are part of the urgent measures to improve competition in the ICT sector, promote investment and accelerate the extensive provision of services in underserved and unserved areas as well as improve the quality of electronic communication services for consumers in the country," ZICTA added.

The regulator previously identified spectrum in 700MHz, 800MHz, 2600MHz, 26GHz and C-band (3300–4200MHz) for use in the deployment of 5G services in the country.

In July, the regulator raised US$41.55 million in the spectrum sale where Airtel Zambia emerged as the biggest spender – offering US$29 million for 20MHz in the 800MHz band and 50MHz in the 2600MHz band.

Furthermore, MTN Zambia bid US$12.55 million for 50MHz in the 2600MHz band.

A 40MHz block in the 2600MHz band that wasn't sold, will also be put back up for sale on a first come first serve bases in the fourth quarter of 2022, the regulator said.

5G future nears

The issuing of 5G spectrum in the Southern African country is a step forward toward commercial launches of the next generation tech, following peers like South Africa and Zimbabwe.

In January, MTN became the first telco in the country to launch a 5G network pilot that promised significant improved technology with faster connectivity speed, ultra-low latency and greater bandwidth. According to the Zambian government, the launch put Zambia among the first ten countries in Africa to pilot 5G technology.

According to statistics from market research company Omdia, Airtel Zambia was the leading mobile operator in Zambia in the second quarter of 2022 with over 8.5 million subscribers.

MTN Zambia was second with around 7.2 million users and the third operator, Zamtel, had about 4.25 million mobile subscriptions.

Want to know more about 4G and 5G in Africa? Check out our dedicated 4G/5G content channel here on Connecting Africa.

Spectrum in the 700MHz and 800MHz bands is also very useful for the rollout of 4G services.

Omdia estimates that only about 4.5% of the Zambian population were using 4G at the end of 2021 while about 66.5% were using 3G and 29% were still using 2G.

Omdia predicts that 4G will grow to almost 34% of all mobile subscriptions in Zambia by 2025. It believes 3G will drop down to 53% and 2G to 12%, meanwhile 5G will likely only make up about 1% of the total in 2025.

Related posts:

*Top image source: created by Allexxandar -

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Hot startup of the month: South Africa's Zoie Health

This month's hot startup is South African digital women's health clinic Zoie Health – a digital app that focuses on family planning, fertility and maternity care.


Orange Côte d'Ivoire launches 5G lab in Abidjan

Pan-African telecoms operator, Orange, has launched a 5G lab in Côte d'Ivoire in anticipation of its 5G network rollout in 2023.

More Innovation hub

Partner perspectives

5G is lighting up the future of North Africa
By Chris Meng, VP of Huawei Northern Africa Carrier Business Department

The moving target that is telecoms fraud
By Clémentine Fournier, Regional VP Sales, Africa, BICS

How mobile operators in Africa can address signalling threats and secure the network
By Katia Gonzalez, Head of Fraud and Security at BICS

All Partner Perspectives

Africa Tech Perspectives


Women in Tech: Spotlight on inclusivity with Digital Council Africa's Juanita Clark

Digital Council Africa founder and CEO, Juanita Clark, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and what needs to be done to make the tech industry intentionally inclusive.


Women in Tech: Spotlight on legal tech with Life.file's Sinal Govender

Life.file co-founder, Sinal Govender, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and how we can encourage more young girls to enter the legal tech field.


Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Latest video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: July 2022

By Omdia Analysts

Kenya and Zambia move towards 5G with new spectrum allocations while Tunisie Telecom plans to shut down its 3G network - that and more in this month's Omdia View.


Omdia View: June 2022

By Omdia Analysts

5G was the major news trend across Africa in June, as Orange became the first operator to launch 5G in Réunion and operators in Senegal accelerated their 5G plans despite spectrum delays.

More Guest Perspectives

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival
November 7-11, 2022
CTICC, Cape Town
More Upcoming events

Archived webinars

Africa Green ICT: Lighting Up a Sustainable Continent

The ICT industry is the leading industry in the commitment to carbon neutrality, whose focus has shifted from setting ambitious targets to taking initiatives. The push for zero-carbon and for green energy development, it isn't just about CSR – it's also good for sustainable business.

The path to sustainable development requires green energy. Governments are looking at potential policy approaches to make green energy more widely available and affordable. Without sustainable energy, there will be no digital transformation and no chance of making Africa more economically competitive in the post-pandemic era.

Africa Green ICT Webinar 2022 will bring together ICT industry leaders and senior industrial analysts to provide insight, best practices and key learnings on how to achieve zero-carbon targets and practice green development in Africa.

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Flash poll

All polls

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up