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Thursday, 29 January 2009

Full international gateway liberalisation?

Apparently :

Zambia to deregulate international telecom gateway, Computerworld Zambia (28 Jan, 2009 )

The Zambian government has finally bowed to pressure to deregulate the country's international telecommunications gateway in order to promote competition and foreign investment in the sector and lower the high cost of communications.

Zambia's international telephone calls are among the highest in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region.

The World Bank and private mobile service providers including Zain and MTN have been pushing the Zambian government to liberalize international gateways in order to reduce the high cost of communication and the cost of doing business in the telecom sector.

Minister of Communications and Transport Dora Siliya said his ministry has been carrying out comprehensive consultations and addressing all concerns from service providers before fully liberalizing the international gateway.

After the consultations, Siliya said, "We should be able to undertake the full liberalization of the international gateway. I'm therefore taking a bill to parliament that seeks to liberalize the gateway to help improve telecom service in Zambia."

International gateways for Zambia have remained closed since the liberalization policies were introduced for other areas of the telecom sector almost 20 years ago. Private operators have wanted to buy licenses to operate their own international gateway.

Last year, Siliya said the Zambian government could not liberalize the international gateway or give licenses to private operators because doing so would be compromising the country's security.

Later, the Zambian government said it had pegged the international gateway license fee at US$18 million, which service providers said was prohibitive.

The operators then petitioned the Zambian parliament to break the deadlock over the international gateway fees.

Now the deadlock has been broken and the Zambian government said it has resolved the objections for private operators to buy and operate their own gateway. The new cost of the international gateway has however, not yet been revealed.

Its been a long road arguing for decoupling Zamtel and full IG liberalisation. To see government signal both is quite something.

9 comments:

  1. I will remain sceptical until it is implemented and the licence fee set. I have never trusted Zambian govts and I wont start doing so now.

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  2. This is a good step forward and will reduce GRZ's monopoly on international rates. As Frank said, I will remain calm till all is in place as i dont trust guys like Teta and VJ

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  3. well the cost of doing business in Zambia is to high. just imagine how much these telecommunication company are ripping us. the international gateway should be liberalized. The parliamentarians should help us by passing the bill so that the gateway is accessed by these players. but until it is implemented, i remain skeptical. the boot leakers will block the bill.

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  4. This will help reduce Zambian businesses input costs and make them more competitive in a global environment.

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  5. I pay $1.5 per minute coz of the 'surcharge' for international calls.

    Kenya let's anyone get an international gateway upon payment of a license fee. Today international rates have dropped substantially.

    Zain allows for One Network which allows cross-border calls across many African countries. It encourages REGIONAL trade.

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  6. The issue of the gateway has to be addressed together with the future of Zamtel. At the moment Zamtel relies on the IG to boost its revenue. GRZ risks bankrupting Zamtel if the two issues are decoupled. Having said that I fully support opening up the IG to all players in the market.

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  7. Let Zamtel float or sink on its own. The delayed decision will be detrimental to all players.

    IG is too important to leave it as a pure subsidy for Zamtel.

    Take Kenya's example. The favoritism shown to Telkom (the old government Telkom) meant Kenya's economic growth was hampered because it raised the cost of doing business especially 'international/regional' business.

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  8. Does anyone know if the new fees have been released for the international gateway?

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  9. No. The fees review is taking place will be done as part of new ICT Bill to be table sometime this year.

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