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Saturday, 13 December 2008


"I don’t agree to say Zamtel is a monopoly because anyone can have access to the International Gateway (IGW). Zamtel does not control the IGW, it is controlled by the Communications Authority (CA) and the only reason these other companies (Zain Zambia Plc and MTN Zambia) are not accessing is because of the cost (the government has pegged the cost of IGW licence fee at US $12 million).”

Zambia Development Agency CEO Andrew Chipwende exhibiting a very poor understanding of competition issues. It is true ZAMTEL is not a statutory monopoly because the gateway is liberalised. The point is that the higher cost of entry into the international gateway, coupled with the political stance preventing emergency of alternative gateways [a quasi planning restraint - even if you can pay the IGW license fee, government is unwilling to give you the license] prevents other players from emerging in the international segment market. This makes ZAMTEL a de-facto monopoly. As for who "controls" the IGW, Chipwendo would do well to familiarise himself with previous submissions from the Zambia Competition Commission (ZCC) e.g. the 2003 submission to the Select Committee on Transport and Communication : "the position of Zamtel means that it has the power to prevent, restrict or distort competitor access to this essential infrastructure [IGW] which was built with public funds".

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