Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

Lusaka — Zambia is looking for a new network operator to compete with existing providers after a company part-owned by Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos failed to set up operations as planned, transport and communications permanent secretary Misheck Lungu said.

Zambia’s telecommunications regulator awarded UZI Zambia, the local unit of Unitel International, the licence in March 2018, and the company was given until May to set up the country’s fourth network operator.

“We respect the rule of law and that’s why we followed the tender process to the letter,” Lungu said on Thursday in comments broadcast on privately owned Lusaka-based Hot FM radio. “Now that UZI has not come, we are going back to plan.”

The new operator will compete with providers including the local units of MTN and Bharti Airtel.

Dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former president, owns a 25% stake in Unitel, which pledged to invest more than $350m through the local unit. Her assets in Angola were frozen after authorities in Zambia accused her of engaging in deals with state-owned companies that cost the state $1.14bn.

Bloomberg

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