Malawi’s third mobile phone operator Nyasa Mobile Limited is hoping a newly established strategic partnership with the Vodafone Group will pay off and assist with efforts to roll out its network by the end of the year.
Details are sketchy, but according to Nyasa Mobile, representatives from both companies have met with government officials to assess the business environment and evaluate data from marketing surveys.
Nyasa Mobile Chairperson Konrad Buckle said the plan is to roll the network out in phases by the end of this year, and the partnership with Vodafone will help the company leverage mobile telephony services at competitive prices.
Buckle was quoted by the local Nations newspaper as saying, “The investment is quite significant to a point where we have some major direct foreign investors that are assisting us in syndicating this investment and making this new network possible. Before the end of the year, Malawians will be in for a pleasant coverage and affordable coverage which has not been possible in the past 20 years. This is a massive project, it is going to be phased, but we will make sure that our ride out is as smooth as possible.”
The Vodafone Group declined to comment on the situation.
In 2020, the country’s President Lazarus Chakwera gave a go ahead for Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) to grant a mobile licence for the country’s third operator.
Chakwera said, “The new mobile phone operator will promote competition in the country’s telecommunications industry thereby increasing the quality and affordable telecommunication services in Malawi for the benefit of all stakeholders.”
Malawi’s mobile market is currently dominated by Airtel Malawi and Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM).
Several attempts over the past 20 years by the Malawian government to introduce competition have proven futile – until now.
Latest official industry statistics by the regulator shows the mobile penetration rate was 59% of the population as at the end of March 2022.