Zamtel bidders progress to second round

Zambia Development Agency impressed with all four bids that were submitted in December

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Zamtel bidders progress to second round With a population of 12.2 million people and a mobile penetration rate of just 33%, Zambia holds much potential for telecom operators.
By  Roger Field Published  January 17, 2010

All four companies that submitted first round bids for a 75% stake in Zambia's incumbent telecom operator Zamtel have progressed to the second round of bidding, according to the Zambia Development Agency.

The four bidders, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited of India, LAP Greencom Ltd/LAP Green Networks of Libya, Unitel /Angola Cables of Angola and Altimo Holdings/Vimpel Com of Russia, originally submitted their bids in December. The bids were approved at a ZDA board meeting held last week.

Muhabi Lungu, acting director general of the ZDA said he was happy with all four participants. "The bids submitted were compelling, and set the stage for an exciting next phase," he said.

The bidders will be given details of the requirements and timing for the next phase of the process this week, although the ZDA said that details of the bids would not be disclosed at this stage to avoid prejudicing the next phases of the process.

Whichever company wins the bid could face a tough task, with Zamtel's mobile arm, Cell Z, lagging behind the market leader Zain, which commands a market share of about 75%, and MTN, the country's the second biggest mobile operator. But the winning bidder is likely to benefit from a fibre network that Zamtel is currently deploying.

Furthermore, while Cell Z trails in third place in Zambia's mobile sector, there remains plenty of potential in the country, which has a population of about 12.2 million people and mobile penetration rate of about 33%, according to research from telecom research organisation Budde.com.

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