CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka
CABINET has approved the introduction of a converged licensing framework in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) which will open up the telecommunications market beyond the current three mobile
operators, and ensure provision of value for money.
Minister of Transport and Communication Brian Mushimba told Parliament in a ministerial statement on Tuesday that the new licensing framework aims at deepening competition, maximising network utilisation, and supporting innovation in the provision of ICT in Zambia.
“The new licensing framework will inevitably open up telecommunications and further ensure provision of value for money through improved quality of services in a competitive environment,” he said.
And responding to Roan Member of Parliament (MP) Chishimba Kambwili who wanted to find out when exactly the licensing framework will be changed to allow for the fourth mobile provider on the market, Mr Mushimba said the new framework will take effect after 30 days.
He said a fourth mobile provider can, after the 30 days, apply for a telecommunication licence if they so wish.
And Mr Mushimba said Government will further propose to Parliament adjusting and updating of the ICT Act number 15 of 2009 to strengthen the regulatory mandate assigned to the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), and provide the institution with clear enforcement capabilities for execution of statutory rules and procedures outlined in the Act.
“Government will table before the floor of this August House, the ICT Society of Zambia Bill that aims to legitimately maintain control and oversight of all ICT practice in Zambia, as well as safeguard the interest of the public, with a view of enforcing standards in the sector,” he said.
Mr Mushimba said with regard to the review of the existing legal framework, Government is in the process of unbundling the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act number 21 of 2009 into five distinct legislative Acts to be proposed to Parliament for enactment.
He said the Acts include the Data Protection Bill, the e-Transactions and e-Commerce Bill, the Cyber Security Bill, and the Cybercrime Bill which is a penal law that will be used to prosecute cybercrime offences.