India's Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) says that it investigating the possibility of taking a stake in Zambia's sole landline operator, Zamtel. The company also operates a mobile network in a competitive market.
MTNL's Chairman, Mr. R.S.P. Sinha, told reporters that the company had signed a non-disclosure agreement with Zamtel.
Zambia's government is planning to sell three-quarters of its stake in Zamtel to a private investor and eventually float the remaining 25% onto the local stock exchange. 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.
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.