October 16, 2012 / 12:35 PM / in 7 years

Zambia says to lift ban on new mobile phone firms

LUSAKA, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Zambia plans to lift a ban on the entry of new mobile phone companies to increase competition and improve cellular service, a minister said on Tuesday.

The southern African country of over 13 million people in 2009 banned additional mobile phone providers from entering until 2015, citing concerns of drawing too many players into a small market.

South Africa’s MTN Group, Bharti Airtel unit Airtel Zambia and state-run Zamtel are the only cellular carriers currently operating in Zambia.

“We think there is need to bring in a fourth operator and this is under serious consideration,” Communications Minister Christopher Yaluma told journalists.

Yaluma said several investors, who he declined to name, had expressed interest to invest in the mobile phone business and the government felt that would bring about competition. (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by David Dolan)

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