Airtel launches 3.75 G service in Zambia
AIRTEL Zambia has launched 3.75 Generation (3G) services, a roll-out plan to speed up internet connection and bring on board an additional one million subscribers this year.
The 3.75 G services launched yesterday in Lusaka are part of the company’s US$ 250 million roll out plan that ends in March 2012.
Airtel will become Zambia’s fastest mobile internet provider with the 3.75 G services with a speed of up to 21megabit per second. The company has also reduced on data bundle rate to K98 from K1, 100 and increased the validity periods of bundles to 90 days from the standard 30 days.
At the launch, Airtel managing director Fayaz King said broad-band network has continued to grow in Zambia adding that communication has become a basic, social and political integral part of life.
Mr King said going forward voice will become a small part of the company’s business while data will take up a big share.
He said as at December 2011, the internet penetration in Zambia was estimated at below six percent of the entire population and only 0.29 percent of corporate entities registered with the Patent Companies Registration Agency were known to use the internet.
“Internet in Zambia has failed to grow because of accessibility but we are making it affordable by ensuring that one can have access through smart phones. Zambia has huge potential in terms of internet penetration,” he said.
The 3.75 G services are not just about fast mobile connection but will also create new ways of interaction, communication, accessing information, speak your voice, watch television on mobile devices, conduct business and enhance entertainment.
He said the company’s subscription base stands at 4.2 million and keeps increasing every month.
Officiating at the launch, Ministry of Broadcasting and Tourism, director of planning, press and public relations Gilbert Maimbo commended Airtel for introducing 3G saying it will greatly empower people by ensuring easy and quick access of information.
“With this facility, one can pay bills, book dinner reservations, update social networking pages, check and sent emails…It’s a source of joy to note that Airtel shares Government’s vision of transforming Zambia into a prosperous middle-income nation by the year 2030,” he said.
Mr Maimbo said access to information will impact heavily on Zambia’s ability to achieve the Millennium Development Goals through facilitation of mobile health, mobile education, e-governance and entrepreneurship.
He said the launch of 3G services by Airtel indicates the confidence the firm has as an investor in Zambia.
He said the company has contributed to Zambia’s attainment of sustained economic growth and reduced the high poverty levels among citizens, as well as accelerated infrastructure development in the nation.
Meanwhile, Mr Maimbo has urged Airtel’s customer service officers to be humble when responding to clients.
“Complaints or concerns from customers should not be considered as offences. Instead, they should be used as basis for improving service delivery,” he said.