Chinese communications equipment giant Huawei Technologies has launched the first of a series of 169 base stations that will connect rural communities in Zambia to the mobile phone network.
The development will bring the latest mobile voice and data technology to thousands of people in remote locations across the country, enabling them to keep in touch with family and friends, find out what is happening elsewhere in the nation, and become integrated into the global community.
The first tower was officially launched yesterday (April 17, 2014) by Vice President Dr Guy Scott at Matanda in Luapula Province, accompanied by the Minister of Transport Works Supply and Communications Hon. Yamfwa Mukanga, the Chinese Ambassador to Zambia H.E. Zhou Yuxiao and Huawei Technologies Zambia Managing Director Spawn Fan Wen, along with the board Chairperson of Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) Emmanuel Musonda, ZICTA Director General Margaret Mudenda, traditional leaders and more than 500 people from the surrounding area.
The coming of the communication towers will provide business opportunities for people in rural areas, said Dr Scott, who urged women and youths in particular to seize those opportunities to engage in business.
Huawei is constructing communications towers as part of ZICTA’s project to build 169 towers in all ten provinces: 21 in Central Province; 11 in the Copperbelt; 23 in Eastern Province; 19 in Luapula; two in Lusaka; 12 in Muchina; 19 in Northern Province; 26 in North-Western Province, 21 in Southern and 15 in Western Province.
The towers, of which some 57 will be serviced by Zamtel, 56 by MTN and 56 by Airtel, are expected to be completed before the end of October this year.
“Through our dedicated effort and commitment to the Zambian market, we endeavor to work with local partners towards improved network quality, affordable rates and more value-added services for the benefit of the people of Zambia,” Mr Spawn told dignitaries.
“Job creation is a key part of this strategy, and that employment will come in a number of ways. Firstly, Huawei will be employing more people to help in construction of the towers. Secondly, the economic and social benefit generated by the connection of these remote areas will generate business opportunities, stimulate trade and open up whole new markets for labour and produce,” he added.
Since the liberalisation of the telecommunication sector in 1994, Zambia has witnessed significant growth in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. Growth has been recorded in the number of mobile telephone subscribers, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Internet users, broadcasting stations, postal/courier operators and telecommunications networks.