A public consultation has been launched by the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) to ‘share [its] preliminary views and plans regarding the identified spectrum to facilitate for the early rollout and commercialisation of 5G as well as to encourage immediate capacity expansion of existing broadband systems’.
With the ZICTA inviting industry view and comments on its planning and licensing proposals for key 5G spectrum bands, it now seeks to gather information on the level of demand for the different bands being considered and understand industry spectrum acquisition plans and priorities. All feedback received will be reportedly be used in conjunction with the ZICTA’s strategic objectives to inform spectrum planning and licensing decisions related to the following activities: identification of 5G priority bands; adoption of band allotment plans and per operator bandwidth requirements; development of a spectrum planning work programme aimed at preparing identified bands for licensing; development of fair and transparent licensing process appropriate for each band, considering market demand; and the development of a 5G spectrum roadmap.
Four bands have been identified by the ZICTA as meeting ‘all requirements for low, mid and high band categories of spectrum required to meet 5G capacity and coverage requirement’, namely the 700MHz, 2.6GHz, 3.5GHz and 26GHz bands. Of those, it noted that 3.5GHz frequencies had ‘emerged as a key focus for 5G’ across many other countries and, as such, one specific question it posed as part of the consultation was whether respondents agreed that this band is ‘vital to 5G deployment in Zambia’.
A deadline of 20 August 2021 has been set for submissions to the consultation.