• Short codes are shorter than a normal standard mobile number.
• New codes will run in parallel with the new codes until 1st February 2022.
• ZICTA wants to bring sanity in the mobile telecom sector
Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) says it has harmonized short codes for buying airtime and data bundles across all mobile network providers.
Speaking in an interview with Money FM News, Authority Corporate Communications Officer Hanford Chaaba said the move is aimed at promoting efficiency and convenience on the part of consumers.
Mr. Chaaba noted that having different short codes for the three mobile networks is tedious because people cannot manage to master all the numbers, hence the decision to produce one short code across networks.
“Our mandate is to plan, monitor and allocate numbers. We give out numbers and some of the numbers that we give out are what we call short codes. Short codes are a number that is shorter than a normal standard mobile number, it might have 3 figures, 4, 5 or 6 but like here in Zambia, we only administer and allocate 2 short codes, a 3 digit and 4 digit short code. These are the short codes that we are doing to ensure that we create what we call efficiency and convenience.”
“We had to come up with a deliberate engagement process with the mobile network operators to ensure that we harmonize the code across mobile network operators. If the code is for buying talk time, it should be applicable across networks and if the code is for buying bundles, it should be one code across mobile networks,” Mr. Chaaba said.
He added that ZICTA wants to bring sanity in the mobile telecommunication sector by ensuring that consumers access services without any inconvenience.
Mr. Chaaba further said the old short codes will be phased out in three months’ time until consumers are fully aware of the new ones.
“We are running the new codes in parallel with the new codes, we don’t want to phase out the old codes because some people might not know that we have the new codes. So we are running them in parallel for three months with effect from 1 December 2021, 1 January and 1February 2022, until a point where we will be sure that now the new codes are well known by people and now we can phase out the old codes.
Meanwhile, Mr. Chaaba said the Authority is currently sensitizing members of the public on the harmonized short codes to ensure that people understand the harmonization process.