The Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has awarded Malcel an operation licence, according to media reports. The new mobile operator is eyeing a commercial launch in October 2023.
With only two mobile network operators (MNOs), Airtel Malawi and Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM), the Malawi telecoms sector has been struggling to introduce competition for almost 20 years.
Malcel, founded by CEO, Bonface Ndawala, said it will invest over US$280 million into the country in the next five years, aiming to roll out over 1,300 sites in urban and rural areas.
Malcel is majority owned (60 per cent) by Eferio Communications, a Scandinavian telco group focussing on launching local mobile network operators, mobile virtual network enablers, and mobile virtual network operators in Sub-Saharan Africa. The remaining 40per cent equity is split between investment firm Bedrock Holdings (30 per cent) and local and international stakeholders (10 per cent).
Malawi’s Minister of Information, Gospel Kazako, said, “Let me take this opportunity to congratulate Malcel for successfully acquiring the mobile network licence. I hope this will induce competition in the telecommunications industry which will level the playing field and yield effective communication services for the ICT consumer. I urge Malcel to roll out its services quickly, as consumers are anxious to see new services. My plea to Malcel is that you must not get into the trap of concentrating your operations in urban areas because rural people also need ICT services.”
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