Airtel Zambia has announced that it has purchased 60MHz of additional spectrum spread across the 800MHz and 2600MHz bands from the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), for a gross consideration of $29 million, payable in Zambian Kwacha.

According to Airtel Zambia, the additional spectrum will support the expansion of the telco’s capability in providing mobile data and fixed wireless home broadband services, and help accelerate the 5G rollout.

In August, ZICTA put out a communique informing the general public that it has revised the 5G Spectrum Roadmap for the release of spectrum in the 700MHz and 2600MHz bands due to high demand.

The regulator pushed forward the release dates for the spectrum bands, with the spectrum in the 700MHz band (703-733MHz paired with 758-788MHz) initially  scheduled for release  in the first quarter of 2023 being rolled out in the third quarter of 2022, while the  remaining lot of 40MHz of spectrum in the 2600MHz band (2550 to 2590MHz) was also  released in the third quarter of 2022.

ZICTA further clarified that the spectrum in the 26 GHz band will be open for assignment on a first-come, first-served basis in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Table: Zambia’s revised roadmap for the release of 5G spectrum

According to the regulator, the update to the roadmap is part of the urgent measures to improve competition in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, promote investments, and accelerate the provision of services in underserved and unserved areas, as well as improve the quality of electronic communication services for consumers in the country.

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