Despite a licence being sold for a fourth telco to enter the market, a lack of available spectrum is expected to block the move.

Zimbabwe will not go ahead with plans to introduce a fourth player into its mobile telecommunications sector, due to a lack of available spectrum, according to watchdog representatives.

“The government has said we will have three mobile network operators, two fixed network operators and as many internet service providers as can survive," Nicholas Muzhuzha , technical services director at The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, told journalists in Southern Africa last week.

Zimbabwe had been considering plans to boost competition in its mobile telecoms sector by introducing a fourth player to the market. However, a lack of available spectrum looks to have stifled this initiative.

Zimbabwe’s three existing mobile operators, State owned NetOne, Econet Wireless and Telecel Zimbabwe, will not face additional competition, despite a fourth licence being sold by the government last year.

Neither the PTRAZ or the Zimbabwean government has specified what will now be done with the dormant fourth licence, or whether the buyer will be refunded.

The majority of Zimbabwe’s 3.5 million mobile phone customers are served by the country’s 2G and 3G networks. However, the country has also had some success in rolling out 4G and LTE services.