The country’s telecommunications industry is set for increased competition following the issuance of a license to a new network service provider Malcel.
The Malawi communications Regulatory authority has issued the firm three licenses, which will enable it put up towers, provide mobile phone, and ICT services as well as broadband.
The coming in of Malcel, is expected to bring the total number of players in the industry to 6, after TNM, Airtel, MTL, Access and newly licensed Nyasa Mobile.
“Let me take this opportunity to congratulate Marcell for successfully acquiring the mobile network licence, it is my hope that this will induce competition in the telecommunications industry which will level the playing field and yield effective communication services for the ICT consumer,” said Gospel Kazako minister of Information.
Speaking during the license presentation ceremony, minister of Information Gospel Kazako appealed for timely roll-out of the operations.
“I urge Marcell to roll out their services with speed as consumers are anxious to see new services,” Kazako emphasized.
The information minister added that “My plea is to Marcell is that you must not get into the trap of concentrating your operations in urban areas because rural people also need ICT Services”.
But founder and Chief Executive Officer for Malcel Boniface Ndawala has disclosed that they will only be fully operational by 1 October 2023.
“We plan to pump in about 280 million dollars that’s the plan over for over 5 years, and with that will build about 1 350 sites. Like the minister said we don’t just want to be in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu and the cities we will go into the rural areas. So MACRA has given us a plan, to say we you to meet these roll out obligations,” Ndawala promised.
In previous years MACRA has awarded operating licences to network services providers such as Lacell, G Mobile, and Celcom that never lived to roll out their operation.
But the regulator has disclosed that it put in place measures to thoroughly vet the firm before issuing the licence.
“What we did this time is we did some due diligence to get assurance of the company’s investment fund availability and source of the funds. So we worked with the Financial Intelligence Authority to assist us with the scrutiny,” Daud Suleman MACRA’s Director General said.
Suleman has since given assurance that they are ready to work with the newly licensed network service provider towards ensuring that it rolls out by the set time considering the amount of investment that such ventures require.