VODAFONE and Afrimax have agreed to launch 4G services in Zambia in an extension of a partner market agreement formed between the two companies in 2014.
The announcement confirms previous reports that Afrimax is to become the market’s fourth mobile operator. The company holds a 4G licence and will license the Vodafone brand for the service. ITWebAfrica reported in April that in October 2015 the Zambian government gave the country’s three existing operators – MTN, Airtel and Zamtel – a six-month ultimatum to improve their services or face competition from a fourth operator.
ITWebAfrica also reported in April that Joseph Gondwe had been appointed CEO of the Zambian operations, but that no longer appears to be the case: Vodafone and Afrimax said Lars Stork has now been appointed CEO of the new operator.
Afrimax group CEO Peter Langkilde and CFO Rob Philpott said: ‘Launching Vodafone Zambia is an exciting development for Afrimax and another big step towards our ambition of building the leading LTE-focused operator in sub-Saharan Africa.’
Netherlands-based Afrimax launched in 2010 and has built up a portfolio of TD-LTE spectrum in 12 countries across Sub-Sahara African. As part of the partner market relationship with Vodafone it has so far commercially launched 4G services in Uganda, initially focusing on Kampala and Entebbe.
Vodafone uses non-equity partner market arrangements to target markets where it does not have a presence. Afrimax is an important part of this strategy for the African market. However, Vodafone continues to sign separate agreements with other operators where Afrimax does not have a licence, such as in Botswana, while Afrimax has also launched 4G services under the Busy brand in Ghana.
In November last year, Chinese vendor ZTE revealed that it had won LTE contracts for Cameroon and Zambia on an exclusive basis from Afrimax.