October 11, 2010 / 10:53 AM / 9 years ago

Libyan telecom to roll out fibre cable in Zambia

LUSAKA (Reuters) - Libya’s LAP Green Networks will lay a fibre optic cable across Zambia in the next two years as part of its 600 billion kwacha investment to upgrade the network of its Zambian unit, an executive said on Monday.

A team of engineers lay fibre optic cables, as part of a government project to provide internet and telephone services, at Seredupi, 450 km (280 miles) north of the capital Nairobi, July 8, 2008. REUTERS/Antony Njuguna

LAP Green in June bought a 75 percent stake in Zamtel, the southern African nation’s only fixed-line operator, for $257 million.

Zamtel’s chief commercial officer, Amon Jere, told Reuters in an interview the company’s current satellite technology had limited its capacity for connectivity and speed.

“In the next two years we should have the whole country on fibre optic,” Jere said.

The roll-out of the fibre optic cable was part of a previously announced plan to spend 600 billion kwacha on building up its network in the fast-growing African country, he said.

Zamtel has signed an agreement with Botswana Telecommunications Corp to connect Zambia within four months to a fibre optic cable already linked to an undersea cable, he said. It was also in talks with Tanzania and Namibia for other links to undersea cables.

Jere said Zamtel planned to venture into the wholesale business by selling some of the excess capacity to other telecom companies.

He said fibre optic cable was already laid in the whole of Lusaka and most parts of Zambia but it was not yet connected to any of the undersea cables.

Jere said Zamtel’s target was to increase the subscriber base on its mobile Cell Z network to one million by the end of 2010. Zambia Competition Commission data shows that Cell Z currently has 250,000 subscribers.

Zamtel, whose revenue for the year to end-December 2009 was $100 million, had performed badly despite its monopoly as the only fixed-line operator of voice and data communication.

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