China has signed a contract for Huawei to build 808 cell towers in Zambia, which will take the country to almost 100 percent voice coverage and to 40 percent in data coverage, according to Global Telecoms Business.
The Chinese government will fund the project with a loan of $282 million, said the country’s ambassador to Zambia, Yang Youming. “After the completion of the project, the voice service penetration will increase from 70 percent to nearly 100 percent, the data service penetration will increase from 5 percent to 40 percent, which will greatly improve communication conditions for the Zambian people,” said Yang at a signing ceremony in Lusaka, the capital. “I believe that everyone’s mobile phone here has at one time or another experienced the loss of signals, thus the inconvenience to communicate. After the completion of this project, that will no longer be a problem.”
The towers will carry 2G, 3G and 4G signals, Yang told GTB. “The project will effectively improve the investment environment in Zambia, promote employment, and provide a solid foundation for the socio-economic development of Zambia.” The project is funded through a “concessional loan” to Zambia, he said, but gave no details about the repayment terms.
Airtel, MTN and state-owned Zamtel are expected to use the new base stations, along with a new company, Vodafone Zambia, which operates data services only. “It is my hope that Huawei will be able to deliver to the government and people of Zambia a quality final product, and write a new chapter for China-Zambia cooperation, from which both of our sides will benefit,” said the ambassador.