Livingstone earmarked for quicker communication service
Livingstone, February 22, ZANIS———–ZAMTEL Chief Executive Officer Mupanga Mwanakatwe says Livingstone will be the first city in the country to benefit from the company’s 4G internet services using the optic fibre network system.
Dr Mwanakatwe said Zamtel was expanding and upgrading both mobile and fixed networks in Livingstone to cover identified areas of interest.
He revealed that on the fixed network, the company was replacing copper cables with fibre as the copper cables were prone to vandalism and contributed to slow internet.
Dr Mwanakatwe however, said availability of 4G internet services in Livingstone would only be possible if the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) approved the Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G application for frequencies made by ZAMTEL.
He said if ZICTA approved the application, ZAMTEL would be able to showcase super high speed data to its clients.
Dr Mwanakatwe said this when Tourism and Arts Minister Silvia Masebo and Communication, Transport, Works and Supply Minister Christopher Yaluma met representatives of Mobile Service Providers at David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa yesterday.
He also revealed that ZAMTEL would fast track installation of the optic fibre network in Livingstone ahead of the hosting of the20th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly in August to enable the hospitality industry offer high speed internet to delegates during the conference.
However, Dr Mwanakatwe clarified that ZAMTEL would only bring the optic fibre network from Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport up to the Victoria Falls and it will be up to stakeholders to engage the company if they needed improved internet services.
He said optic fibre implementation was supposed to end on June 7, 2013 before UNWTO General Assembly.
Earlier, Tourism and Arts Minister Silvia Masebo complained of Livingstone having a weak signal in terms of mobile communication and this resulted in residents, river front accommodation facilities and visitors roaming on networks from neighbouring countries at an added cost.
Ms Masebo said in addition, banks offered limited services due to poor internet connectivity.
She however, said during the UNWTO she expected all accommodation facilities in Livingstone to have a fast broadband in rooms and public areas.
Ms Masebo said this was because the20th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly would be a green conference and as such delegates would be expected to download conference materials using the internet.
The Tourism minister however said she was excited to note that Livingstone would be the first town to benefit from the 4G network system.
Meanwhile, Communication, Transport, Works and Supply Minister Christopher Yaluma commended ZAMTEL for using its initiative to improve internet services in the tourist capital ahead of hosting of the UNWTO General Assembly.
Mr Yaluma said he would ensure ZICTA does not stand in the way of ZAMTEL through unnecessary bottlenecks.
He noted that the expansion program by ZAMTEL was key to meeting the demands of its clients.
And Airtel Zonal Business Manager-Southern, Wyson Lungu said his organisation was undertaking works to increase its capacity to operate at 100 per cent.
Mr Lungu said the company had put up additional sites to deal with the issue of roaming.
He said Airtel, had 21 sites in Livingstone and most of them were on 3G and this put them ahead of the curve to offer high speed for downloading of conference materials for UNWTO delegates.
Mr Lungu said efforts were being made to partner with local hotels and other business houses to extend services especially to areas with low signal to improve coverage.
He said Airtel was committed to ensuring that the UNWTO was a success and efforts would be made to highlight the latest technology the country has to ensure people have a good experience.