Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) has vowed to restore mobile phone communications after a fire gutted the company’s offices in Lilongwe.
The company’s tower facilitates communication for several telecommunication services providers including Malawi Digital Broadcasting Network (MDBNL), Telekom Networks Malawi, Airtel Malawi and Zodiak Broadcasting Station.
MTL chief commercial officer Gladson Kuyeri said, “As landlord, we have a crisis management and recovery plan in place. We have already assembled a team to recover the site and we should be able to resuscitate links which have been affected in next day or so.”
However, Kuyeri could not confirm whether affected subscribers will be compensated for loss of connectivity and said only that his company will work with the insurer to complete a full assessment.
Director General of the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) Godfrey Itaye said the cause of the fire and cost of the damage is yet to be established.
Itaye confirmed that operators including Airtel Malawi and Malawi Telecommunication Limited have been affected.
“Our particular interest is to ensure that services are restored since all these operators are housed under Malawi Telecommunications Limited infrastructure and so as landlord, they have to do something quickly,” Itaye said.
He said Telekom Networks Malawi has managed to restore some services using a back-up system.
MDBNL is the sole public signal distributor of television broadcasting services in Malawi and currently carries 16 TV stations on its Kiliye Kiliye decoders.
MDBNL chief executive officer Denis Chirwa said the fire destroyed all broadcasting equipment they had mounted on MTL’s infrastructure.
Chirwa added that the company is assessing the damage and value of the equipment destroyed but estimates the value at close to US$1-million.