Telecoms operators to get combined fixed, mobile licences

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The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has said it has finished formulating a new licensing regime which would allow the country’s telecoms operators to provide both fixed and mobile telephony services, local daily The Nation reports. MACRA’s general director, Charles Nsaliwa, said the regulator will award telecoms companies a technology-neutral licence shortly, in order to enhance competition and improve the quality of service in Malawi’s telecoms sector. The regulator’s announcement follows the award of a dual fixed and mobile licence to locally-owned company Celcom Limited earlier this month. The company, which is required to roll out services by October 2012, beat competition from three other companies, namely Zambezi Africa Telecom, C-Mobile Holdings Limited and Smart Telecom Limited.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that Malawi is currently home to two operational wireless operators; market leader Airtel Malawi (formerly known as Zain), which is owned by India’s Bharti Airtel, and Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM), a subsidiary of fixed line incumbent Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL). A third mobile operator, Global Advanced Integrated Networks (G-Mobile), was licensed in July 2008, but the company is on the verge of losing its licence as it has failed to meet network rollout deadlines. Meanwhile, MTL and newcomer Access Communications Limited (ACL), which launched fixed telephony services in January 2010, are currently the only two players in the wireline arena.

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