Saturday, September 18, 2021

Internet & Communications in Zambia

AfricaZambiaInternet & Communications in Zambia

By mail

Zambia’s postal service is sluggish and unreliable (particularly outside of Lusaka), but it’s not hopeless. If you’re delivering anything essential, a private courier service is still advised.

By phone

Zambia has the country code “260.” “211” is the Lusaka city code. Check the list for city codes for additional municipalities. Phone service, both inside and outside of Zambia, is, nevertheless, hit-or-miss. Regular, reliable phone service is more probable in big cities, although it is by no means guaranteed. The farther you go from Lusaka, the more difficult it is to keep a strong connection. Calling charges to other countries may be as high as $3 per minute.

Cell phones have been more popular in recent years, and Zambia has a crowded market with three major operators: airtel (0976,0977,0979), Cell Z (0955), and MTN (0966,0967). In general, Airtel has the biggest network, whereas Cell Z offers the lowest service. A local SIM card may be purchased for as low as 5,000K ($1). Prepaid time is offered in “units” that equate to dollars: expect to pay 0.4 units for an SMS and up to 1 unit/minute for calls, but the exact rates are as per usual befuddling. Whether you intend to travel using a non-Zambian SIM, first check with your home operator to see if they have any roaming agreements in place; Zambia is generally not at the top of their list. It’s also worth noting that roaming costs are exorbitant, and service in rural regions may be patchy.

The majority of “public telephone” booths nowadays consist of a man renting out his smartphone. Domestic calls cost $5 per minute ($1), while international calls cost $15 per minute ($3).

By internet

In Zambia, Internet cafés are popping up, but connections are intermittent and sluggish. Furthermore, since uninterrupted power is not always possible, some Internet cafés utilize backup generators, which may be quite expensive. Expect to pay as much as 25 cents per minute at an Internet café. Most hotels and backpackers charge a fee for internet access, which is usually about 5K for 15 minutes.