The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) said it is close to awarding new company Malcel a licence, enabling it to become the country’s third mobile operator, a move it hopes will bring competition against Airtel and Telekom Networks Malawi.
Local newspaper the Nyasa Times reported, MACRA director general Daud Suleman said the introduction of a third player will hopefully “bring prices down and level the playing field” to spur growth in Malawi’s digital economy.
“We are still in the process of working with them until the gazetting of the licence as per law and regulations. The financial viability and stability of their application assured us and we will continue to work with them as they start their operations in the country,” said Suleman.
Malcel founder, CEO and deputy executive chairman Bonface Ndawala said the deployment of its network will begin from Q4 this year and the company will mark the network coming online with the first phone call on its network in Q4 2023.
Ndawala detailed the unit was created in partnership with subsidiary Bedrock Holdings which is made up of former Celtel and Zain staff holding a 30% stake, while Danish company Eferio Communications holds 60%. The remaining 10% is up for sale to another local or international company.
Eferio has pledged US$250 million for the rollout with US$30 million more to come from other investors, depending on negotiations.
The company also registered its own mobile money company called MCASH with plans for launch.