Zambia's government has announced plans to sell three-quarters of its stake in the state-owned Zambia Telecommunications Corporation (Zamtel) to a private investor and eventually float the remaining 25% onto the local stock exchange.
President Banda said the partial privatization of the company was the only way to resolve the financial problems the company is facing.
It is estimated that the company needs a capital injection of around US$200 million, which cannot come from the government without affecting other services.
Although the privatisation will result in the liberalisation of the international call gateway, to the benefit of the other private operators, no new operator license will be offered in the country until Zamtel has returned to economic viability.
An attempt to sell the stake earlier this year to a private equity group became mired in political controversy after a judicial investigation was ordered into Communications and Transport Minister, Dora Siliya.
Shew was alleged to have engaged a private consultancy firm based in the Cayman Islands to carry out an evaluation of the assets of Zamtel without following tender procedures and ignoring legal advice in the process.
The country currently has three mobile network operators with the following market shares; Zain (70%), MTN (20%) and Zamtel (10%) - based on Q1 statistics from the Mobile World subscriber database.